Saturday, April 23, 2016

Marilynne Robinson - Lila

This is the best theatrical experience I had in the past few years.   
Oh, for pity's sake.  I saw the pirated movie of Burton's Broadway Hamlet, he chewed the little scenery there was to pieces.  I won't say it was the worst Hamlet I've seen but it wasn't anything like the myth. 

On second thought, parts of it were as bad as any I've seen.

I liked him a lot better in Night of the Iguana. 

I Guess I'll Just Have To Share The Opinion On Reading Plays With This Nobody

Why Read Plays?
by Edward Albee

The question is so absurd that we need not only answer it but find out why it's being asked as well. Most simply put: plays--the good ones, at any rate, the only ones that matter--are literature, and while they are accessible to most people through performance, they are complete experiences without it.
Adjunctively, I was talking to a young conductor the other year whose orchestra was shortly to give the world premiere performance of a piece by a young composer whose work I admired. "Oh, I can't wait to hear it!" I said, and the conductor replied, "Well, why don't you? Why don't you read it?" And he offered to give me the orchestral score--to read and thereby hear. Alas, I do not read music. Music is a language, but it is foreign to me and I cannot translate. If I did know how to read music, however, I would be able to hear the piece before it was performed--moreover, in a performance uncolored, uninterpreted by the whims of performance. This is an extreme case, perhaps, for few nonmusicians can read music well enough to hear a score, but it raises provocative issues, including some parallelisms. Succinctly, anyone who knows how to read a play can see and hear a performance of it exactly as the playwright saw and heard it as he wrote it down, without the "help" of actors and director.
Knowing how to read a play--learning how to read one--is not a complex or daunting matter. When you read a novel and the novelist describes a sunset to you, you do not merely read the words; you "see" what the words describe, and when the novelist puts down conversation, you silently "hear" what you read . . . automatically, without thinking about it. Why, then, should it be assumed that a play text presents problems far more difficult for the reader? Beyond the peculiar typesetting particular to a play, the procedures are the same; the acrobatics the mind performs are identical; the results need be no different. I was reading plays--Shakespeare, Chekhov--long before I began writing them; indeed, long before I saw my first serious play in performance. Was seeing these plays in performance a different experience than seeing them through reading them? Of course. Was it a more complete, more fulfilling experience? No, I don't think so.
 Naturally, the more I have seen and read plays over the years, the more adept I have become at translating the text into performance as I read. Still, I am convinced that the following is true: no performance can make a great play any better than it is, and most performances are inadequate either in that the minds at work are just not up to the task no matter how sincerely they try, or the stagers are aggressively interested in "interpretation" or "concept" with the result that our experience of the play, as an audience, is limited, is only partial.
Further--and not oddly--performance can make a minor (or terrible) play seem a lot better than it is. Performance can also, of course, make a bad play seem even worse than it is. God help us all! When I am a judge of a playwriting contest I insist that I and the other judges read the plays in the contest even (especially!) if we have seen a performance. And how often my insistence results in the following: either "Wow! That play's a lot better than the performance I saw!" or "Wow! The director sure made that play seem a lot better than it is!"
The problem is further compounded by the kind of theater we have today for the most part--a director's theater, where interpretation, rethinking, cutting, pasting, and even the rewriting of the author's text, often without the author's permission, are considered acceptable behavior. While we playwrights are delighted that our craft and art allows us double access to people interested in theater--through both text and performance--we become upset when that becomes a double-edged sword. I am convinced that in proper performance all should vanish--acting, direction, design, even writing--and we should be left with the author's intention uncluttered. The killer is the assumption that interpretation is on a level with creation.
I'm not suggesting you should not see plays. There are a lot of swell productions, but keep in mind that production is an opinion, an interpretation, and unless you know the play on the page, the interpretation you're getting is secondhand and may differ significantly from the author's intentions. Of course, your reading of a play is also an opinion, an interpretation, but there are fewer hands (and minds) in the way of your engagement with the author.

Snob's Labours Lost

I am being mocked, derided as being a patron of community theater.  As if there is something wrong with community theater.   Considering it's over my taunt that the big heads of the "Brain Trust" have probably never read Love's Labours Lost or Timon of Athens, I'd say that anyone who gets to see such seldom done plays in a community theater should count themselves as very lucky, indeed.

Nope, I'm not interested in bragging about having seen so and so and whatever star in whatever production.  As if it's some kind of achievement to pay for a ticket and sit in an audience.  All I will say is that if there were a community theater around here that did plays like that and a good range of modern plays that aren't played to death I'd volunteer as a stage hand or something so I could see all of them.

I will bet Mr. NYC sophisticate hasn't read one of the plays since the last time he was assigned one in school, and, knowing the altitude of his brow,  he probably read the Cliff Notes then.   He never had what it takes to make me feel condescended to and with every passing week, he's got only what risks making me feel smug.

Update:  Snobbles is mocking me for never having seen a "world class performance" of one of the plays in question.   "World class performance" is a term of advertising, it's not an artistic description that means anything.  As I said, I'll leave the bragging about the great achievement of buying a ticket and sitting in a chair to the name dropping dope.   He didn't deny having read the Cliff Notes or never having read even that much since he was assigned to in a class.  He was too busy gloating over being an audience member.  I guess I never considered that an achievement, though if he were playing I'd probably consider it an ordeal.

Update 2:  Now he's accusing me of going to the most overplayed of musicals.  Have I ever pointed out that Simels doesn't really think, he starts to rearrange his prejudices but that's too much work so he just leaves them where they've been since 1965.

He must forget that he's the one whose idea of a "Shakespearean" experience is West Side Story.  As I recall we got into a big fight over Lennie's biggest hit, I think I said it had one good song, Something's Coming.  Though I heard that Sondheim thinks the only decent song in it is the Jet's Song. I guess he doesn't remember I didn't like that grotesquely pretentious flop, Candide, either.

After reading about what a total disaster it was, I do have to admit I wish I could see just how horrible 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. really was.  It sounds like all involved were taking too many drugs.  But that's only morbid curiosity.    I wonder how Simps would feel about his Lenny if his name had been Jones and he was from Iowa.

I'm sure somewhere here  or maybe even at Eschaton in its brief and long past glory days I declared THAT I HATE MUSICALS.  Like a few of the numbers from some of them but I'd never sit through a whole thing to hear Moon Face Starry Eyes.   Not big on ballet, either.  Not that big on theater with a minimum of ideas.

Update.... considering what he's saying maybe I should call these "upchucks".   Now he's comparing reading a play to eating at McDonalds,  something which, as a long time vegetarian, I have to admit that's something he's got the better of me over.  The fast food, not the reading of plays, which I doubt he's ever done.  Or maybe his low opinion of reading plays is merely the result of his total lack of intellectual effort and imagination.  The dolt has no more imagination than an old Nancy comic.

Update whatever:   Now he's saying "too stupid for words"  Now, having told you what a pathological liar Simps is I will say that on those frequent occasions when he says "Words fail me," and he must say it at least ten times a week, that's probably the only experience he's ever had of telling the truth. 

This Is The Strangest Thing I've Seen So Far This Year

and considering some of the comments that people try to post here, that's saying something.

Cyd Charisse - Holiday For Strings.   I will not be looking for the full movie.

Vice President Warren?

I am on record as being unenthusiastic about the idea of a president taking people already in office in the Senate and House as running mates and for cabinet posts, not unless there is such a surfeit of Democrats in both houses to ensure that it wouldn't seriously weaken the strength of a Democratic majority or cause either the loss of a chance to gain control or retain it.

There might be an exception made to Hillary Clinton choosing Elizabeth Warren as Vice President.  The choice would have many pluses.

1.  It would be a very bold choice and historic on top of the historic candidacy of Hillary Clinton for president.  To have two women at the top of the ticket would prove that Hillary Clinton was able to do something bold and brave when there are so many who think she's too calculated.  For the record, that someone who has been under attack in the most vicious possible ways, from the entire range from the far right to the play left would make anyone careful.

2. Elizabeth Warren would make an excellent president.   She is wildly popular with the left and even the play left.   She also has supporters in the middle and even, I suspect, a few who would call themselves conservatives.   Her intelligent populism is exactly what is needed in the country, right now.

3.  It would energize massive support within the Democratic Party and with independents.

4.  Two strong women would be too much for a candidate Trump to keep his mouth shut against, he would make himself ever more unpopular with more people than he's managed to now.   I think he'd alienate even more people and bring out more voters to bury him and his party.   Warren is like a Biden who says what's on her mind but is remarkably responsible in what comes out of her mouth.

5.  If the opposition isn't Trump but Cruz or someone else,  I still think a lot of the above will happen, at the very least they would be hard pressed to avoid making gaffs and regrettable comments that would have a similar effect.

The only down side is, I believe, that in Massachusetts the governor gets to fill appointments for interim Senators.  Thanks to the voters in MA, the MA media and the Democratic establishment giving one of their more proven election losers a chance last time, it would be filled by the Republican Charlie Baker.   He wouldn't likely appoint a grunting, knuckle-dragging paleo-Republican but whoever he appoints can be counted on to toe a Republican line like the phony moderate, Susan Collins does.  It's the genteel thugs who do the most damage.   A President Hillary Clinton will need a Democratic Senate and House to get anything done, any Democrat with a Republican Senate will have a rough time getting appointments filled,  not to mention laws passed. 

Camille Paglia is nothing significant full of sound and slurry. 
No, I won't post to the piece at Salon, I'm disgusted with Salon and won't be posting links to it.  

How Stupid Is Steve?

While copying and pasting this sentence below:

I've looked at a lot of old signatures written with the kinds of pens used at the time have have not seen any by an author which was as incompetently drawn and inconsistently spelled as his.

Stupid Stevie then makes a comparison between a quill pen and those electronic signing things in use today.  As if that's any kind of a comparison.   Not to mention someone who might type out a few sentences on his lame-brained pop-music blog comparing himself to someone who is supposed to have written, by hand, more than 900,000 of the greatest words, many of them invented by him, in the entire corpus of English language literature.  

No Simps, let me put it in terms you might, might, get if you think really really hard. 

Image result for sesame street one of these things

Update:  Stupie thinks that my using a One of  These Things Is Not Like The Other picture shows that I have an "unhealthy obcession" with kiddie shows.  On the contrary, having labored for years and years trying to communicate with Simps and the other Eschatots on an adult level, I'm reduced to speaking in terms they might understand.   Alas, it doesn't seem to work. 

More Answers To Stupie's Stultified Statements:   All I did was point out that George III, when he was blind and insane could sign his name better than any of the six Shakspere signatures show the merchant of Stratford could.   Helen Keller could sign hers better than the guy you believe is the most accomplished author in the English language and she didn't even learn to write until she'd been blind and deaf for years.   

Old whine in from old skin:  Stupie is whining that I won't post his comments.  Well, that's not going to change so why don't you go away and stay away and you won't make me happy by allowing me to tell everyone how vacuous you are.  

Schmucks Redux:  Yeah, yeah, I looked at Duncan's Dunces like you asked me to.  Never have so few done so little.   Thinking, that is.  Or reading.  Notice how much of what they're talking about is TV or movies.   I'll bet not one of them read Love's Labours Lost or Timon of Athens.   I'll bet none of the read the long poems, either, 

A Tale Told By An Industry Signifying Nothing

On this day in 1616 died a businessman, a broker, a grain hoarder and sharp dealer in it during a time of shortage, a moneylender who would sue people and risk destroying them over a petty sum owed a man who owned, among other things, fractional interest in two theaters and who was, also,  a demonstrably lousy husband.  And not a single person who knew him seems to have known him as anything but that because not a single person noted his passing as anything but a provincial businessman whose will mentions no books, by anyone, including him, mentions no plays or poems or manuscripts.  His will which was written by a lawyer or clerk or scribe was signed with three very shaky, variously spelled spellings of his name, not one of them or any of the others spelled or likely pronounced as its universally spelled and pronounced today.  Those three signatures and three others, all on business papers having nothing, whatsoever to do with literature, are the only examples of his ever having taken up a pen which has ever been found.

As Mark Twain and others have pointed out, for seven years no one seems to have found the death of the Stratford businessman or his life's work to have been worth remarking on.  There were no grief struck poetic cenotaphs published on his passing, no regrets that the greatest writer in the English language had passed from among them, nothing until the publication of the First Folio which is, in fact, the only association of literary works with the Stratford businessman to have appeared anywhere up to that time.  After that the poems about the Sweet Swan of Avon etc. start to flow but not before.  I will point out, again, that the First Folio seems to have been largely motivated by Ben Jonson, who had previously produced his work in a folio, and that at the time the First Folio was assembled and put together that Jonson was working for the most learned Englishman of his time, Francis Bacon, as Bacon had been removed from high office and disgraced by some formidable and dangerous political enemies who would certainly have used an association with theater works or anything else to further persecute him.  Jonson was working with Bacon on the publication of his life's work in anticipation of his death.  And, as has been pointed out,  Ben Jonson could be one of the most sarcastic poets in the language, much of what he wrote had to be taken with that in mind.


In light of the Startford lender's record of vindictively pursuing debts owed to him, it's curious to consider the record of his lawsuits in light of the advocacy of Portia in The Merchant of Venice.  Not to mention the character of the learned Portia in relation to the Stratford man's relationship with his wife and daughters, who he had abandonned for long periods, apparently leaving them in financial distress as his wife had to borrow money at one point.  Money which the, then rich Stratford businessman refused to repay.   And you should also consider the scholarly Helen in All's Well That Ends Well, Miranda in The Tempest, the scheming amoral  but clearly literate Lady MacBeth the many literate and erudite women in the plays with his attitude toward his wife and the fact that his two daughter were not educated.  One daughter, like his parents, signed documents with a mark, a squiggle, his more accomplished daughter, Susanna, signed her name in a painfully drawn series of letters, hardly made uniformly and who by the only first-hand evidence we have was unable to distinguish her own husband's, Dr, John Hall's,  handwriting from that of another man.   Apparently we are supposed to imagine that a man who left his wife and two daughters in a state of illiteracy invented many well educated, even intellectually brilliant women characters in plays.

I will point out that Francis Bacon's mother,  Ann Cooke Bacon,  was a brilliant classical scholar who could write in Latin and Greek at a high enough level that it impressed some of the great scholars of her day.  Of course she could write in English.  Perhaps also relevant to the topic of this post, she knew Italian and French.   She could also write learnedly on theology and to translate works.   The Stratford man's mother, like his father, his wife and one of his daughter had to sign things with a mark instead of even drawn letters.  I strongly suspect that whatever learning by way of using a pen Susanna Shakspere Hall had was under the guidance of her obviously literate and learned husband and not her so often absentee father.  From his signatures, it's clear he could hardly hold a pen himself.   I've looked at a lot of old signatures written with the kinds of pens used at the time have have not seen any by an author which was as incompetently drawn and inconsistently spelled as his.

So, on today, millions around the world will commemorate the death of the Stratford businessman in a way that no one in his day who actually knew the guy ever did, they do it because in the centuries after his death he was turned from a businessman holding a sack into a plaster figure, a new now pen-holding, improved and beautified monument, a - well, Mark Twain, as so often, said it best

The bust, too--there in the Stratford Church.  The precious bust, the priceless bust, the calm bust, the serene bust, the emotionless bust, with the dandy moustache, and the putty face, unseamed of care--that face which has looked passionlessly down upon the awed pilgrim for a hundred and fifty years and will still look down upon the awed pilgrim three hundred more, with the deep, deep, deep, subtle, subtle, subtle, expression of a bladder.

There, I think that's enough to get the old goat going.

Friday, April 22, 2016

I'll Let Nina Say It For Me

Hate Mail

Duncan and his stable of stupid regulars can all dry up.   Anyone who could have read Steve Simels' comments for a decade and believed anything he said without fact checking is an idiot, I include Hecate esq. since I did fact check.  I hope she's more careful in her professional work than she is online.  

The Shame Of Maine Would Have Let Prince Die A Week Ago

You might think you have a rotten governor but, really, has any of them vetoed a measure to save people who took a drug overdoes because it just means they're going to die of another anyway?  Even as we have record breaking numbers of opioid overdose deaths*?

TMZ is reporting that, six days before he passed, Prince was forced to make an emergency stop in Moline on his way home from an Atlanta concert date for the purpose of having a "save shot" that would reverse a possible opiate overdose. It's hard to imagine today, but this could have been worse: He could have had to land in Maine.

But in his veto letter sent to lawmakers on Wednesday, LePage said the bill would allow pharmacists "to dispense naloxone to practically anyone who asks for it." "Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose," LePage wrote, repeating a contention that has caused controversy before. "Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction."   

Of all the Republican governors who have run their states into the ditch over the past seven years, human bowling jacket Paul LePage is the most perfect combination of policy ignorance and boneheaded, talk-show confidence in his own righteousness of them all. He's an embarrassment to enlightened democracy. Hell, he's an embarrassment to human thought. But he's also a cautionary tale for us as a country.

Yep, I've been saying that for the past seven years, beginning when it was obvious that the millionaire vanity candidate, Eliot Cutler, would be running as a spoiler.  Too conservative for Maine Democrats - and considering how conservative the past two Democratic governors have been, that's saying something - Cutler did the Maine Independent thing of running as a self-financed independent, putting the worst governor in our state's modern history into office, not once, but twice.

The only reason LePage was elected in the first place was because there were four candidates on the other side, and the only reason he was re-elected two years ago, is because one of them, Eliot Cutler, ran as a third wheel again.

In his concession from Portland's Ocean Gateway, Cutler vowed to work toward ways that would improve chances for future independent candidates. "I'm going to spend an awful lot of time over the next year trying to get ranked choice voting implemented in Maine," Cutler said. "I think it will get rid of the negative campaigning, it will get rid of the negative advertising and restore civil discourse." About whether he'd considered running for another office after this: "Who knows? Never say never." In his victory speech, LePage said the campaign had elevated his respect for Cutler and that Cutler would make an excellent attorney general.
Yeah, that was going to happen.

Cutler's fans were dedicated and sincere. A lot of drug addicts are likely to die in Maine now. People should remember that.

ə 'ah, that's what is happening here in the State of Embarrassment, the state that is shameless as it is alleged to be quaint, the state that I now have to be as ashamed of being from as I used to be grateful I wasn't from New Hampshire when it had a string of the most putrid Republican governors up till the current Republicanfascist era.

I can honestly say that the only Maine personality I loathe more than Paul LePage is Eliot Cutler.  I save a place high on that list for the idiot liberals of the past who made ballot access so ridiculously open to spoiler candidates because it felt so groovy to open up the process and be so liberalish.   That was among the stupidest of all of the stupid reforms to come out of Augusta in the past half century. We had some pretty rhum and pretty bad governors in the past, but nothing like LePage.  We have not had a real liberal since Ken Curtis had to retire in 1976, as I recall, just about the time that the "reform" effort of that period was in process.

According to the Maine Attorney General’s office, the overall number of drug overdose deaths in 2015 was 272, which eclipsed 2014 as the worst year on record by more than 30 percent. That is unacceptable, and it further underscores the need for action.

Honoring Prince By Slamming His Religion

Looking around the blog babblers, it's so funny how many of them are honoring the late musician Prince by using his death as an occasion to bash God and Jesus and Christianity when Prince began life as a Seventh Day Adventist and ended it by being a Jehovah's Witness. 

Such is the deep integrity of the atheist blog babble and their pretense of respect for the guy who died yesterday. 

Update:  On the contrary, while I don't have a lot of use for his music I have a lot of respect for Prince over his stand on artistic control and integrity and an artist owning his material.  I also don't agree with his religious choices but respect the ones he made. 

Update:  You, dopey, think everything has to be either you're totally in favor of someone or you declare them to be an idiot.  I can agree that someone is very talented and intelligent without necessarily liking their music.  Handel is one case where I acknowledge that,  Miles Davis is another one.   I don't have to like someones' music to respect them.  You on the other hand, are neither someone I respect, someone I like nor anything but an idiot. 

Rupert Sheldrake and Mark Vernon On The Question

Can Materialists Have Free Choice? 

Hate Update:  Ha, ha, I know you didn't listen to the mp3 because I posted the wrong address.  Sheldrake explains why they've got to set up one of their double-standards in order to give themselves free choice when they deny it to everyone else. 

The Brain-Only Model Can't Escape The Need For Non-Physical Entities To Move Physical Bodies - Hate Mail

No, to start with, mind-body dualism, which I didn't bring up, has not been disproven, it's  merely become unfashionable.  The reason it became unfashionable is because atheists wanted to discredit the idea of a soul.

As it is, I haven't been promoting a model of the mind, I've been discrediting the materialist model of the mind.

The old question used by atheists to promote their materialist model is how a non-physical mind could interact with the physical body to compel it to do things, to move it.  Their argument was that unless the mind, itself were physical, it wouldn't be able to interact with the body.  But that's an extremely naive concept of at least three things physicality, the possibilities of a non-physical mind and the nature of living organisms.

To begin, as I mentioned a month or more ago, there is no reason to suspect that a non-material mind would be limited to the forms of interaction with physical entities that are demonstrable in the interactions of two moving physical objects.  As I mentioned if the mind is nonphyical it would not be expected to be limited in the way that physical objects are because those qualities of physical objects are what define them as physical, a nonphysical  mind would be expected to have other qualities and capabilities that are not shared by nonliving physical objects.   There is nothing more obvious to our everyday experience than that living beings have capabilities not shared by nonliving objects, though atheist-materialist dogma has been trying to convince human beings that that isn't their everyday experience of reality for centuries.  There is nothing that is more demonstrative of the emotional motive of atheist-materialism than its refusal to acknowledge even the most obvious of truths about life and human experiences, the catalogue of those denials would be bigger than the Websters Collegiate.

My exercise in asking atheists to explain how, if our minds are ephiphenomena of physical structures in the physical brain that the brain would know it needed to make new structures to, in fact, be new ideas in the brain, what those structures needed to be, how to make the right and not the wrong structure and, whatever it has made being the only form of a possible right form for that idea then present in the brain, it would know it had made the right idea and, perhaps as daunting, make whatever proposed mechanism work in the experienced speed of thought, ... my motive in asking that was merely to disprove the possibility of that model because it makes no sense at all to think that could happen, that the brain could do all of that without the idea being present to instruct it of what had to be done.

I don't see how any possible means of atheist-materialist explanation of that to get around the problem of the idea to be made being there and that, since it would have to precede the formation of a physical structure in the brain that the idea would have to not only be present in a non-physical character but that that non-physical idea would be the motivation that makes the brain, then make any structure to represent it in the physical brain.   The problem of how a non-physical entity interacts with the physical body is forced by a full consideration of any materialist conception of the mind because the mind is constantly forming new ideas.  It does whenever it so much as notices things in the physical environment that the body reacts to, it is doing that every single second when we are awake.  The idea that every one of those ideas is the product of the manufacture of new structures in the brain is certainly not a good match for our most basic experience of reality.

Dualism makes far more sense, though I have not proposed a dualistic model of the mind, I suspect that it is probably quite short of the mark because it can't begin to approach what the mind is.  I strongly suspect that the mind, even at its most stripped down consideration as consciousness,  won't turn out to be the hard problem, it will turn out to be a continual mystery because we have no adequate tools to address what it is by philosophical contemplation, I'm pretty certain it will never be caught in the causal nets of science because I think the mind is a totally different kind of thing than science is equipped to find. 

Why so many people fall for and fall in line with the atheist-materialist dogma of "brain-only" has more to do with peer-pressure in academia and fashion and the demand that everything must be vulnerable to scientific methods in service to a rather naive and frequently stupid atheist ideology than it does anything honest.

Update:  If people are going to bring up questions about this, I'm going to answer them.  If they insist on posting those in an unacceptable form, I will answer the questions without posting the insults, lies, false attributions, etc.   As I said, if people are going to give me material, I'm going to use it.

As to this being repetitious, I don't recall any of their fans criticizing PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, James Randi or any other atheist for their all-hate, all the time approach to religion, especially Christianity.  There is no more repetitious ideological group than the fan-boyz of atheism.  I will go over this as many times as it takes or until I stop posting pieces.  Probably the day that happens you'll know that I'm dead or finally couldn't pay my electric bill.  

Hate Update:  "in other words you don't know shit about shit".  I sure as hell know it when I read something you wrote.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Good Grief, Which Is It, Either Porn Is As Pure And Wholesome As Apple Sauce Or What It Is Is Wrong, You Can't Have It Both Ways

One of the big, brave, free-speechy guys who is so outraged at my offense against the great and noble force of porn and the cause of the pornographers is outraged at my hardly outrageous or nearly explicit description of what prostitutes are expected to do in the course of their, um, work day.   Well, if porn and prostitution are so harmless and positive goods, what's wrong with giving a job description of what they consist of?   Or does that only bother you when I put it in terms of YOUR ass and mouth and the rest of you?

Either you admit that you don't really believe that what you say is OK when it's done to prostitutes, in private or for view when it's turned into porn or you stop pretending to be one of Baby Blue's bluestockings when I put your own claims in your own fat face and your own sweet ass is proposed to be on the line.  You're OK with other people's bodies and souls living on the line you wouldn't put a toe on.

You guys are such hypocrites.

The New York Times Has A Fascist Strong Man It Wants To Sell Us

Way back when the internet was new, or at least new to me,  a wildly popular leftist blog could still call itself "Media Whores Online" as it reported on the activities of the Republicanfascist presstitutes who acted to George W. Bush and those in his junta like the character Gradisca in the movie Amarcord.   Only it wasn't a movie and the consequences in real life were horrific.

While I was among those regulars at Media Whores Online who pointed out that associating American journalists c. 2003 with whores was an insult to whores, that whores where nothing near as amoral and degenerate as our media, top to bottom, it's too bad that in the intervening years "whore" became a forbidden word because the presstitutes are at it again.

The great FREE PRESS of the United States is preparing the way for a possible presidency of either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump because they are what they've always been the pillars of the oligarchy which can't even abide a center-center democrat like Barack Obama and they certainly don't intend to have one somewhat to the left of him which they fear Hillary Clinton will be.  Charles Pierce has noted how the Great Grey Lady, the grande dame of the newsie knocking shop, the Times is doing soft focus puff pieces on the intellectual brilliance of Ted Cruz, trying to humanize someone so horrific that it seems no one who knows him can do anything but hate him.   Even those who have not only held their nose but superglued golf balls up their nostrils like Lindsay Graham to endorse him are on record as hating him.  The reason his fellow REPUBLICAN SENATORS! hate him is because he is entirely self-centered, entirely ego-maniacal, reckless and irresponsible.   I will grant that Graham, who is pretty repugnant, himself, probably did it in hopes of getting a brokered convention but he's stuck with it now.

But the New York Times and the rest of our media who proved in the Iraq fiasco, in the total incompetence of the Bush II regime in virtually every way, in their massive corruption are proving that they will promote the possibility of having that happen, perhaps even worse, this time, as they prop up the Republican establishment.  And that's the "liberal New York Times" that is pushing Cruz as if he isn't one of the two fascist strong men who are poised to be the candidate of the Republican Party.   As Pierce notes, they aren't the only major institution in which so many misplace their trust who are trying to put a false-front over the nightmare that Ted Cruz is.  And, make no mistake about it, they'll do it.

I will note, again, that in 2014 the New York Times published an editorial boasting about the role they had in the Sullivan decision, granting immunity to media that lies.   If we ever get the chance to write a modern constitution, one that takes into account the practical experience of the past two and a quarter centuries, we should make it clear that freedom of the press is a privilege that they keep only so long as they serve the purpose of democracy, telling the truth and informing The People so they can cast an informed and responsible vote.  It doesn't work when the media lies.

Thinking of Amarcord reminds me that Mussolini was a journalist by profession.   He, no doubt, understood the opportunity for a fascist strong man to rise and take power when the media could be roped in and used.   A fascist strongman is like the biggest pimp in the land, turning the entire country into his stable of whores, using thuggery and violence when corruption doesn't work.  And if there is one thing that is clear in the behavior of even the top end of our media, most of them are just fine with being his call girls or street walkers. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Duncan Black Asks Why Clinton Supporters Are So Cranky

And he asks that while maintaining one of the crankier blogs on the net.   I mean, have you ever watched them going after each other?  Wielding one cliche after another, one threadbare assertion after another, one false factoid after another?   It's like a cage of lazy, pissy,  rather stupid movie critics over there. 

The handful of regulars who have any intelligence will eventually realize that it's the cause of their chronic annoyance and lethargy and leave, eventually.   Someone, I think it was at Guns and Lawyers, once said to me, Yeah, I don't go there much anymore, the comments are a nightmare.  I asked him what there was to it other than the comments, he couldn't think of anything. 

Update:  Stalker Guy is trying to stump me by asking if prostitutes are selling their bodies what about coal miners. Well, who says they aren't?   I'd say they're remarkably similar in that they are both hazardous to your health and your life, both of them are horrible and both lines of making money spread the risks to those who aren't involved, coal mining in the role it plays in global warming, prostitution in the role it plays in spreading sexually transmitted diseases.  

However, if you don't think there's a difference, S.G. why don't you go get some bigger, stronger guy who wants you to do whatever thing with your anus, your mouth, etc that he wants you to and might do anything from refusing to pay you to beating the crap out of you to killing you if you refuse and maybe if you comply.    Oh, and, did I mention, he's infected with hepatitis C and HIV and is going to give you anal warts. Go do that and report on how that's like coal mining. 

Update 2:  Apparently the great sophisticate, that NYC hipster finds it shocking that someone would know what happens to prostitutes, as if no one had ever written about it before, as if you don't find that reported in the newspaper.  Maybe he didn't read them.   Good grief.  And here I'm supposed to be the hick.   

Update 3:  And now he's pulling the "you've looked at porn so you don't get to criticize it" routine again.   

I've already said that I'm not going to fall for that porn industry Catch 22, that if you've never seen porn you can't criticize it because you don't know what you're talking about and if you've looked at it to see what it is you can't criticize it because you've looked at it.  

And here, he passes himself off to the simpletons who take him seriously as having been a journalist.   Well, he was never a real journalist, though he's not the only phony journalist to repeat the porn industry line in the paragraph above.  As if someone could develop any valid opinion of something that they had a right to report on if they'd never seen it.   It's like telling a war correspondent that they don't get to report on war because they've looked at battles and the carnage of battles.   I guess the jerk who stalks me is the Bill O'Reilly kind of reporter who reports on things he's never seen.   I mean, what kind of reportorial skills does it take to listen to an LP and tell someone if you liked it.   See what I said about stupid critics above.

Harriet Tubman Is The Perfect Choice To Replace Andrew Jackson

Harriet Tubman is the perfect choice to replace the racist, genocidalist and all round awful Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill.  I hope someday that the choice will be seen as a signal that the country has turned a corner away from white supremacy as well as male supremacy.    Tubman is one of the most courageous, intelligent and entirely admirable people who this country has ever produced, you can't say the same about most of the white male presidents and politicians who we have glumly staring out or askance from our ugly green money.  I hope they use realistic colors to render her as she really looked.  I can't think of anything better than children of color to see her image and for racists to have to see it as they spend money.  I'd urge replacing more of the guys with more women.

Here's a piece I've posted before.  It tells the story of how she rescued her brothers from slavery.

be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step aboard

Escape of Harriet's Three Brothers

In 1854, Harriet Tubman received news that Eliza Brodess planned to sell her brothers over the Christmas holiday. Harriet, who could not read or write, had a friend in Philadelphia write a letter to Jacob Jackson, a free black man who lived near her brothers in Dorchester County. Fearing authorities might read her letter, Harriet included a carefully coded message to Jackson to alert her brothers of her pending arrival: “tell my brothers to be always watching unto prayer, and when the good old ship of Zion comes along, to be ready to step aboard.” 

She arrived Christmas Eve at her parents’ cabin on Dr. Thompson’s plantation at Poplar Neck in Caroline County. Robert, Ben and Henry, and several other friends joined her during that night and the following morning. They hid in a nearby corncrib, where they could wait until dark and begin their journey north. Only their father knew of their presence, because they were afraid their mother, distraught that she might never see them again, might detain them. At nightfall on Christmas Day, Harriet safely led them on their journey towards freedom, traveling through Delaware, Philadelphia and across upstate New York to St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

Answer To A Question

What would I do to promote the real left?

Well, the first thing is to avoid conceited, insulting alienating dicks of the kind who have done more damage to the left than just about anything else.  Quite often the biggest of those are the ones who have achieved or aspired to power in any of the various totally failed, totally rotten old-lefts of the past hundred-fifty years.  A reading of the late James Weinstein's "The Long Detour" will provide a partial list.  I would avoid the old habit of leaning on academics and, heaven preserve us "theorists" especially those in the social-so-called-sciences like the plague they have been since Compte and before.   I would especially suggest the sections in Weinstein's book on how the old Socialist party, which achieved electoral successes on an unprecedented scale, was destroyed from the left as those who had done something, people like Victor Berger, were derided as "conservatives" "traitors" and "sewer socialists" by the more ideologically pure and totally ineffective "real left".

I would recommend reading the essays of Marilynne Robinson, especially Mother Country and those in When I Was a Child I Read Books, and then into the truly radical left, the writings of  Walter Brueggemann, James Cone, Dorothy Day and many others.   All of those writers are entirely more radical than the secular radicals. radical especially when they deal with real action in real life and not in the pudding-headed theory that those who never intend to do anything that will be like work love so much.   A look at the social justice teachings of the Abrahamic religions and such things as the Engaged Buddhism movement are good, too.

I would avoid, like the plague they are, communists, many who go by the name "socialist" many of whom are not, the Fabians on the right and the many Marxists on the alleged left.  I would avoid the insanity of anarchism as it's generally conceived of.  I would make it a general rule that any alleged "party" which has never elected a single member to an actual office or has never achieved having an actual caucus of a tenth of any legislature is a total waste of time and, far worse, counterproductive.  All such parties end up damaging real progress towards the left, the Greens in the United States are only one of those.  You can say the same for groups that have been in existence for decades and longer whose achievements, generally extremely modest, are outweighed by the dead weight they have been on progress.    For the love of Mike, there are still people who retain romantic notions about the I.W.W. these days.   I mean, I loved Studs Turkel but when he went on about the Wobblies it was like he was suffering from senile dementia.  The Wobblies were a total and complete disaster and screw up who ended up betraying even many of those they organized.  There is a reason that the membership of the group during some decades achieved the stunning record of having more than 100% of its members leaving it.  I assume that means that some of the dopes tried it more than once before leaving it for good.

It's insane to look to those who did nothing but blow smoke when there are actual examples to learn from.  From Marilynne Robinson there is the point that nothing the myriad of more radical radicals promoted that were of more material and spiritual good to more people than the establishment of free, public education, including land grant universities, public libraries, Social Security, the G. I. Bill of Rights, Medicare and Medicaid and other such sweepingly radical changes that we've allowed to be damaged and weakened.   As Robinson pointed out, few if any of the programs imagined by the British radicals we are supposed to revere approached the radicalism of those programs which the United States under far more officially conservative governance made law and into effective programs.  Americans have got to get over the largely Anglophile, less often Francophile notion that their thinking on those things is superior to what happened here.  You can learn some things from other places but it is far more likely that in the United States, what has, in fact, been achieved here has more to tell us about what might be achieved here in the future.

Of course it all falls apart when that history is lied about through the magnification effect of the media.  It isn't satire that destroys bad things, it is lies that destroy the good things.

The libertarian-liberals, the phony leftists who enabled the campaign against those by allowing the media to lie have been the greatest help to the effort to destroy that radical program of actual improvement in lives, whatever the ACLU might have achieved in other cases is obliterated in their enablement of the oligarchic, Republican lie campaign against democratic government to improve lives, to produce real good for real people.  The free-press, the electronic media has been the most effective weapon against whatever good is possible.

Another rule for a real left is that any political group whose history contains an exponentially larger account of their pitiful, self-pitying suppression and victimization than their achievements is a dead end.   There is one useful thing to consider about that, though.  The endless whine of the anarchists, the Marxists, etc. about the massive lies that prevented them from doing anything reinforces my point of the total stupidity of the "more speech" line of the free-speech industry.

If lies told by the plutocrats and oligarchs through their newspapers, radio programs and other media are the excuse we allow the communists, anarchists and others to give for why they produced nothing, then to pretend that lies aren't the reason that the left that achieved something are not also damaged by those lies is absurd.  The claim that such lies aren't powerful enough to, not only prevent future progress but to destroy what has been achieved is, literally, psychotic in the face of the history of the left being entirely disempowered under the regime of free press absolutism when that "press" is hate talk radio and right-wing cabloid and network TV.   The disempowerment of the left is also a result of their freedom to lie.  The left has to give up some of its most cherished slogans and notions because they are nuts.

Sanders Supporters Need To Know Now If He Intends To Be The Republican Enabling Spoiler In 2016

I read in the Boston Globe the other day that the former cult idol of the play-left,  St. Ralph Nader, has joined up with the funder of white supremacists and general opponent of people with dark skin, Ron Unz in trying to take over the Harvard Board of Overseers.  Unz is also running for Senate in California.   Unz made his money in banking and Wall Street, he made a bundle by selling the company he founded,  Wall Street Analytics,  to Moody's, one of the major players in bringing about the financial collapse of 2008

Here's some more of what Ralph's new colleague is funding.

The Unz Foundation’s most heavily financed fellow in 2008 was Gregory M. Cochran, who received $600,000 to serve as an “Unz Independent Scholar.” Cochran, then an adjunct anthropology professor at the University of Utah, has written that homosexuality may be spread by a “germ” and tied Jewish intelligence to genetics.

Unz also gave $24,000 to VDARE writer Steven E. Sailer, who described his personal ideology in a blog post as “citizenism”— the belief that “Americans should be biased in favor of the welfare of our current fellow citizens over that of the six billion foreigners.” Sailer has also written about what he calls the “black-white IQ gap,” and argued that the devastation incurred by Hurricane Katrina indicated that African Americans “possess poorer native judgment” and “need stricter moral guidance from society.”*

Ralph Nader is now making common cause with the likes of Ron K. Unz, his excuse is the proposal of Unz to make Harvard tuition free - to the elite who go there as well as the charity cases, including the children of millionaires and billionaires and other wealthy Harvard alumnae.  Unz has never to my knowledge campaigned against that most elite of affirmative action programs, the legacy admissions of the Ivy based aristocracy.    Currently tuition is free to anyone whose family income is less than $65,000, or so it said in The Globe.  The tuition proposal, which I would imagine has no chance of being adopted, is Unz's Trojan horse to get through his universal goal of abolishing any kind of affirmative action to correct the effects of racism.

I can't help but think that this is, somehow, related to Nader's role in helping to install George W. Bush as president in 2000 and his willingness to play a spoiler for Republicans in 2004, well after it was obvious what a terrible idea that was for "pushing the agenda left".    Or, just what is St. Nader, the blessed virgin Ralphie, doing by being part of a coalition whose obvious goal is to further the racist campaign of Ron Unz sixteen years after he played his major role in American politics, installing George W. Bush on the excuse he was "pushing the agenda to the left"?

And what does the past two decades of Ralph Nader have to say about the judgement of those who encourage his stunt candidacies for president?   It was twenty years ago he did his trial run against Bill Clinton's reelection in 1996, I will confess, to my shame, that I voted for him as a protest vote that year, four years later I voted for Al Gore, having realized from the politics in my state that those kinds of symbolic, stunt candidacies are grotesquely irresponsible.

I bring that up as a cautionary scenario because, frankly, the way he's been talking in the past few weeks, I think Bernie Sanders is trying to position himself as this year's Ralph Nader, unable to win the Presidency but quite willing to take down the far better candidate because she doesn't meet his standard of perfection, goodness, and purity.   As they make hay over the story of the voters list in Brooklyn I think that's going to get worse.

Here's a rule of thumb for lefties, when FOX-lite, CNN takes up your lines, you know that it's going to enable the Republican right, in the end.   CNN was all over the top of the page with the "voter purge in Brooklyn" this morning.

If, in the entirely unlikely event that all of the alleged 120,000 voters allegedly qualified to vote in the Democratic primary yesterday had voted for Bernie Sanders, it wouldn't have changed the outcome of the contest, Hillary Clinton would have still beaten Sanders by a large margin as she has in the entire contest, so far.  But his campaign and, worse, his more flaky followers, the kind who were Nader voters in 2000 will take up anything he says about it and amplify it to the benefit of the Republicans.

Bernie Sanders has days, not weeks or months to avoid being the enabler of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz or whatever Republican hack who gets the nomination.   I don't see any indication that he and his campaign are going to do anything but attack Hillary Clinton in ways that will be useful to the Republicans.   The media is already showing signs of going with their habits of amplifying any and every attack on her, it's been doing that for three decades.  If Sanders meant to pivot to preventing a Republican winning as it was obvious that he couldn't win the nomination, I'm not seeing anything like that happening.  I don't know if he has the political skill or sharpness to do that.  If he means to, he should start today.   If he doesn't, his sane supporters who know that Hillary Clinton is entirely better than any Republican who she will be running against need to understand, right now, that he intends to play the spoiler this year.

*  There's more, here's another Harvard alum Unz has funded:

Thomas E. Woods ’94, another “Unz Research Fellow,” received $108,000 from the Unz Foundation over three years starting in 2008. Woods, a historian and writer, is a founding member of the League of the South, a self-defined “Southern Nationalist” group of “men and women who are not content to sit by and allow their land, liberty, and culture be destroyed by an alien regime and ideology.”

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Hate Mail

If the Hillary Clinton campaign has some desire to hire me to do something I wish they'd hurry up with the offer, I need the money.   If you can lodge a complaint with them that might hurry them up, do it tonight.   I'd say the same about the Sanders' campaign but they'd have to pay me a lot more to put up with his supporters who I like a lot less than I used to like Sanders. 

Update: Oh, I'm not holding my breath, I was just answering what I assume is one of your good buddies' ridiculous assertion that I was on someone's payroll.

However, let me encourage you, with all my heart, do, do hold your breath.   Hold it until you turn baby blue. 

Update:  I remember when I used to hear right wingers who encouraged the conditions that promoted the spread of HIV and wish that, since someone was going to get it, that they would.  Felt ashamed of wishing it on anyone but I couldn't help it as I watched people I know get horrifically and painfully ill and dying. Now I have to feel guilty wishing the same for "free-speech, free-press" "sex-pos" jerks.  I acknowledge that it's wrong to feel that way, but it is the way I feel. 

Update:  I'm not the one who encourages people to practice unsafe sex so I can feel groovy and up to day and a paragon of free speech-pressyness.   I'll bet you used to like to dress up and pretend you were Nat Hentoff when you were a kid, in your thirties and forties in your case.   

Betty Carter - Spring Can Really Hang You up the Most

Betty Carter, voice
Harold Mabern, piano
Bob Cranshaw, bass
Roy McCurdy, drums

So beautiful from her vocal and musical prime, which lasted just about her entire career.  For me she's the greatest of all jazz singers.

Betty Carter - Beware My Heart

Gone White At The Blue Rinse Cohort

I have an urgent message telling me that my favorite geriatric ward, often known here as baby blue, has lost its color and is now white - I mean the page background, not 99 44/100th  % of its current regulars, though that works too.   Why that should be the most urgent concern about it it is telling, so interesting, but it's not that interesting.

Duncan is blaming it on disqus, his comment system which turned on ads without his permission.  What that means, is,  I suppose, he doesn't get a cut of those ads as opposed to the ones he whines about people using ad-block over.  Unlike other website owners, he only has nice, attractive ads, not vulgar distasteful ads  Maybe Jeff Bezos will pay someone to restore the color for him. 

Hey, I'm sure some of your regulars can tell you how to do a blue rinse job. 


I hadn't followed the story about John Kasich talking Torah with Orthodox Jews in NYC, GOOD GRIEF!  HOW CLUELESS CAN SOMEONE BE!

Then there's Trump and Cruz, etc.

Can't wait to see the returns from New York tonight. 

When History Is Inconveniently Reliable Science Can Muddy The Waters

 A second time within one week I am required to point out to the same group of scoffers that when I wrote a sentence, this one:

You have to wonder how any two people could ever have the same laws of science in their brain, how that could remain in existence as a uniform entity in different forms for even a minute.

I was addressing problems with an idea I rejected, not promoting its consequences.  And also lost on these conceited materialists, it was not with an idea that I accepted and promoted but an idea I've been in the process of demolishing for the past year,  the same group mocking my rejection of an idea which is, in fact, theirs, the materialist-atheist "brain-only" mind.

They love the idea that the mind is a material thing, the structures in the brain, because, in their formulation, not mine, they believe such a mind model is necessary to get atheism past the "hard problem" of the mind.  They don't, though, have much interest in the consequences and implications of their brain-dead, brain-only model.  In fact, they just hate it when someone thinks some of those through to their necessary results.

For anyone who doesn't buy that illogical model the mind is a mystery, it isn't a hard problem for science.  If you believe in a non-material mind then that removes it from the bailiwick of science which is equipped to only study physical entities.   The official scientific study of the mind has been ongoing for at least a century and a half, with enormous numbers of people granted degrees in science and with enormous funding, especially in the period after World War Two, the results are pathetically unimpressive, the relevant sciences some of the most shoddy, slip shod and fraudulent of those still denominated as science*.  And, quite early in that quixotic quest, not being able to find the mind with the methods of science, it was declared to not be real, to be an illusion and, in its equivalent today, to be a mere epiphenoenon of physical structures determined by physical causation.

However, it helps if someone championing science is able to navigate the implications of their methods, or at least be aware of what the subject matter of science is.  I am aware that several of those who have scoffed during this series have been people who purportedly work in science but who seemed entirely unaware of so much as the boundaries within which it can possibly work.

The extent to which the conceit of scientism produced the brain-dead brain-only model is an interesting problem, itself, one knowable, not through science but through an examination of the declarations of those who invented it.  I might get around to that historical research one day.  Scientism, by the way excludes anything which can't be studied scientifically from being knowable or, in its most widely spread popular version, possibly existing.  How that fits into the astonishing frequency of materialists declaring that the mind, even consciousness, itself is an illusion - as they use their minds to make that declaration - is another fascinating study.  It is only one of the reasons that materialism is the most decadent ideology currently held by large numbers of people credentialed as being educated. 


History, especially recent history, by the way, is often able to produce much more precise knowledge about far more complex phenomena than science can.  I can point out that, at times, when someone attempts to debunk the hardest of hard knowledge of history with alleged science the results can quickly turn into the kind of pseudo-science practiced by the Holocaust denier and phony engineer, Fred Leuchter.  Ironically, Leuchter has a bachelors degree in History from Boston University, he has none in any science nor in engineering.  Perhaps he found that the standards of history proving the Holocaust beyond any rational doubt were so definitive that he felt he had to turn himself into an imaginary engineer using "science" to deny that massive confirmation of that historical fact.  His creation of himself as an engineer was accepted by, first, the right-wing capital punishment establishement (the guy is seriously one of the most creepily disturbing characters of the end of the last century) and then, right-wing Holocaust denial and neo-Nazism.  But  Leuchter was only one of the sources of "scientific" obfuscation depended on by the Holocaust denier David Irving.  Irving also depended on the officially accepted science of such guys as the Evolutionary Psychologist, Professor Kevin MacDonald of California State University, Long Branch.

The Evolutionary Psychology used by MacDonald and others, such as John Hartung** to produce reviewed, published "science" and supposedly expert papers and reviews of a nature useful to Holocaust Denial and related hate campaigns is a good example of how the standards and generalization accepted as science can, often, produce science which is useful to deny the most founded and reliable of historical fact, historical fact which has massive contemporary documentation, massive archeological confirmation in physical artifacts, the testimony of enormous numbers of contemporary witnesses, some of whom carried surgical scars, tattoos and other evidence on their living bodies.  And, lest it be forgotten, evidence directly in the words of those who carried out the Holocaust.

I think, in light of that affair and the continuing position of such scientists within science, that it should be asked that science define its boundaries to prevent such abuse which is so liable to gull and seduce and deceive the naive and foolish and be useful to such "experts" who want to gull, seduce and deceive them.  You would think that scientists would be concerned with such an abuse of the name, science, for such a purpose.  I haven't noticed any signs of self-correction or reform on that count.

If you want to deny such "science" is science, it was reviewed by scientists, it didn't result in MacDonald being fired.  He's retired as a professor and, I believe, still publishing stuff and, I believe, still retains his identity as a scientist.  Fred Leuchter who, after his exposure as an engineering fraud and having a mere B.S. in History ended up working in a call center.

* For example, apparently 80% of university psychology programs still teach the Rorschach test and a large majority of practitioners still use that entirely pseudo-scientific "diagnostic" method.  Not to mention load of crap.  Don't get me started on ethology. 

**  John Hartung is listed online as Professor of Anesthesiology at the State University of New York, with  a Harvard granted degree in anthropology.   Hartung's quasi-anti-semetic paper,  Love Thy Neighbor: The Evolution of In- Group Morality, which, falsely claims that the Hebrew commandments requiring justice applied only to other Jews when the texts he extracted those commandments from extend their application to gentiles.  His paper was cited favorably by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion and his argument is often used by atheists in their pseudo-historical invective against Jews and Christians.   As Marilynne Robinson, in her review of The God Delusion pointed out:

Dawkins says, “I need to call attention to one particularly unpalatable aspect of its [the Bible’s] ethical teaching. Christians seldom realize that much of the moral consideration for others which is apparently promoted by both the Old and New Testaments was originally intended to apply only to a narrowly defined in-group. ‘Love thy neighbor’ didn’t mean what we now think it means. It meant only ‘Love another Jew.” As for the New Testament interpretation of the text, “Hartung puts it more bluntly than I dare: ‘Jesus would have turned over in his grave if he had known that Paul would be taking his plan to the pigs.” Pigs being, of course, gentiles.

There are two major objections to be made to this reading. First, the verse quoted here, Leviticus 19:18, does indeed begin, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people,” language that allows a narrow interpretation of the commandment. But Leviticus 19:33—34 says “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. . . . You shall love the alien as yourself.” In light of these verses, it is wrong by Dawkins’s own standards to argue that the ethos of the law does not imply moral consideration for others. (It would be interesting to see the response to a proposal to display this Mosaic law in our courthouses.) Second, Jesus provided a gloss on 19:18, the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan. With specific reference to this verse, a lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus tells a story that moves the lawyer to answer that the merciful Samaritan—a non-Jew— embodies the word “neighbor.” That the question would be posed to Jesus, or by Luke, is evidence that the meaning of the law was not obvious or settled in antiquity. In general, Dawkins’s air of genteel familiarity with Scripture, though becoming in one aware as he is of its contributions to the arts, dissipates under the slightest scrutiny.

Robinson follows with more criticism of Richard Dawkins abuse of history, abuse which, in the following years of reading the thoughts of online atheists, is ubiquitous among them.  She also noted in the review that Hartung gave a positive review of one of Kevin MacDonald's more infamous and  obviously anti-Semitic books.   Such a record didn't lead to someone of Dawkins' scientific character viewing his declarations useful to him in his own hate campaign, which included Judaism, to be discredited.  It wasn't the obvious anti-semetic content of his reviewed science that got his scientific colleagues to shun MacDonald instead of bestowing professional honors on him - he'd been the editor of more than one journal in his profession during that period - it was the bad publicity that he got from being associated with David Irving when he infamously lost the libel trial he brought against the eminent historian of the Holocaust, Deborah Lipstadt. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Using a grammatical imperfection is invariably better than remaining tongue-tied." Hate Mail

Oh, I went to land grant universities back in the day when you were expected to have a liberal education, no matter what your major was.  Even the majors in the hard sciences were still expected to know something else.  That included mandatory courses, beginning with a rigorous Frosh Rhetoric course, math courses, science courses, history, etc. all requiring you to, you know, do research and write papers.  And those being public universities we weren't just retained because Pater and Mater were grad or had given an endowment or something, if you didn't maintain a sufficient grade record you'd flunk out and be told to go home.  We weren't told our first day to look left and right of us because by the end of the first year one of them would have flunked out but we'd heard that rule of thumb before we went.   We'd also heard that the Ivy class schools just hated to do something so vulgar as to expel someone for not working.  I can't say it made us smug but I can tell you it didn't make the Ivy class guys humble.

I can't say it made me a finished writer, at least not when I write something in two days instead of having weeks to write it.  I can do that, still.  I suppose.   And I have to admit that the habit of using standard grammar has slipped a bit - trying to get back to uniformly using the subjunctive instead of the vernacular past tense is taking a bit of effort.   Maybe I'll go to posting once a week sometime.  Try to come up with more finished pieces. That would be an interesting experiment to try.   Till then, it's quick and dirty, edited after publication and on the fly.  That's the real difference between a writer and someone who isn't a writer, having the luxury of an editor.   I go with Mario Pei's advice to those trying to learn a new language, "Using a grammatical imperfection is invariably better than remaining tongue-tied.:

Maybe I will get round to hauling out the ol' Warriner's English Grammar and Composition sometime and working through it.  But I'm not going to dumb it down to short sentences with no words of more than three syllables.  Things went to hell when that nonsense started.

The eyes were a lot better back then, my glasses are reaching the weight they're going to need a kind of reverse tumpline sort of arrangement to stay on.    Can't see a damned thing without them.

Maybe you should ask "Dad" why he doesn't write more than two sentences at a time unless it's to ask for money.   If I wrote two sentence posts I'll bet I could make them piss elegant, saying nothing as I did it.

Update:  I'm accused of using "outdated, stilted language".  I think the coprophagous eschatonian  meant I write on an adult level.   I suspect the bint didn't have to take Frosh Rhetoric.

Duncan, you proud of your "Brain Trust" these days?   Or didn't you have to take Frosh Rhetoric either?

Update 2:  "One of the things that probably makes me worth reading is that I stay the hell away from Washington, D.C. It's a city where everybody says exactly what everybody else says. And I don't have to spend more than ten minutes in Washington before I find myself saying exactly the same thing too."  Molly Ivins

That's why I stay away from Eschaton.   Maybe some day I'll get past the years I wasted there.  Once I started saying things everyone else there wasn't saying, my days there were numbered.   I only wish I'd gotten out when people like NTodd did, or, better, Tena.    DWD, take notice.

What Happens If There Are An Infinite Number Of Laws Of Gravity Because No Two Could Be Alike?

It is one of the most surprising thing that you can point out to people, even people within science, people who should have been informed of this in their earliest training in their profession, that the laws of science are the product of human imagination.   That's not me talking, it's something that is well known among scientists, mathematicians and logicians who have had that as part of their training and their reading and reflection on their professional activities.  My favorite formulation of that is from Arthur Stanley Eddington in his lectures collected into his book, The Philosophy of Physical Science

Eighteen years ago I was responsible for a remark which has often been quoted:

"It is one thing for the human mind to extract from the phenomena of nature the laws which it has itself put into them; it may be a far harder thing to extract laws over which it has had no control. It is even possible that laws which have not their origin in the mind may be irrational and we can never succeed in formulating them."

This seems to be coming true, though not in the way that then suggested itself. I had in mind the phenomena of quanta and atomic physics, which at that time completely baffled our efforts to formulate a rational system of law. It was already apparent that the principle laws of molar physics were mind-made — the result of the sensory and intellectual equipment through which we derive our observational knowledge — and were not laws of governance of the objective universe. The suggestion was that in quantum theory we for the first time came up against the true laws of governance of the objective universe. If so, the task was presumably much more difficult than merely rediscovering our own frame of thought”.

Since then microscopic physics has made great progress, and its laws have turned out to be comprehensible to the mind; but, as I have endeavored to show, it also turns out that they have been imposed by the mind — by our forms of thought — in the same way that the molar laws are imposed

I have used that quote several times and find that the atheist-materialists who have been introduced to that idea have often railed against the idea that when human beings talk about "physical law" or "laws of nature" what they are talking about is, actually, the interpretation of the physical universe as conceived of in human terms, not only in human terms but, specifically in a very formalized form of mathematical expression that can hardly be said to be understandable by the large majority of people. In a sense you fairly point out that those people who do understand those have been thoroughly indoctrinated and acculturated into the mindset that can understand those and find them acceptable. Though even most of them won't have more than a utilitarian understanding of them.

I am interested in what the "brain-only" dogma does to any particular intellectual construct that we so casually call "an idea".  Most people conceive of an idea, and even more so such purportedly precise ideas as "the laws of physics" to be uniform when that is likely an illusion.   How uniform can the identity of any "idea" be if those are based in the physical structures made by our brains out of the ambient material and physical forces within the brains of each and every person whose brains would eventually contain such an "idea"?   My guess would be that the exquisite precision required to embody such an idealized "idea" in even two brains, never mind the entire population graduated with credentials in any one of the sciences that are constructed would mean that the probability of those "ideas" being identical means that no two people hold that idea.   If a non-physical entity that we would call an idea could be of more reliable uniformity than one produced by brain-only orthodoxy can't be known but the obstacles to uniformity when an idea is held to be the expression of a physical structure made in brains might mean that such uniformity would be more likely if that physical substrate were not insisted upon through the dogma of materialism.

You have to wonder how any two people could ever have the same laws of science in their brain, how that could remain in existence as a uniform entity in different forms for even a minute.

What thinking about the inescapable issues and conclusions and implications of any physical definition of the mind does to the dogmatic view of the integrity of science, as if science, itself were not a product of human imagination, is a question that will have to be faced as this dogma is pushed and its rigid belief is enforced.   I suspect that the discrepancy between the popular understanding of the nature of science - which is idealistic in the extreme - and the problems for that forced by the orthodoxy of materialist ideology as science will not have good consequences for science or society.  I have to wonder if the corruption within the behavioral and social sciences that is being exposed in the past years isn't a harbinger of what will come if those insurmountable problems are swept under the rug for another generation.

And I've only been talking of "ideas" as if they were the discrete entities that we are so accustomed to talking about, as if those imagined entities are real.  The reality of the mind is that it is continuous and integrated, to talk about a discrete "idea" may be as undefinable or illusory and imaginary as talking about a discrete "event" such as many physicists and cosmologists claim generate jillions of universes every second of every day and every night.

Almost a hundred years ago, Eddington wrote this:

The search for physical reality is not necessarily utilitarian, but it has been by no means profitless. As the geometry became more complex, the physics became simpler; until finally it almost appears that the physics has been absorbed into the geometry. We did not consciously set out to construct a geometrical theory of the world; we were seeking physical reality by approved methods, and this is what has happened.

Is the point now reached the ultimate goal? Have the points of view of all conceivable observers now been absorbed? We do not assert that they have. But it seems as though a definite task has been rounded off, and a natural halting-place reached. So far as we know, the different possible impersonal points of view have been exhausted—those for which the observer can be regarded as a mechanical automaton, and can be replaced by scientific measuring-appliances. A variety of more personal points of view may indeed be needed for an ultimate reality; but they can scarcely be incorporated in a real world of physics. There is thus justification for stopping at this point but not for stopping earlier.

It may be asked whether it is necessary to take into account all conceivable observers, many of whom, we suspect, have no existence. Is not the real world that which comprehends the appearances to all real observers? Whether or not it is a tenable hypothesis that that which no one observes does not exist, science uncompromisingly rejects it. If we deny the rights of extra-terrestrial observers, we must take the side of the Inquisition against Galileo. And if extra-terrestrial observers are admitted, the other observers, whose results are here combined, cannot be excluded.

Our inquiry into the nature of things is subject to certain limitations which it is important to realise. The best comparison I can offer is with a future antiquarian investigation, which may be dated about the year 5000 A.D. An interesting find has been made relating to a vanished civilisation which flourished about the twentieth century, namely a volume containing a large number of games of chess, written out in the obscure symbolism usually adopted for that purpose. The antiquarians, to whom the game was hitherto unknown, manage to discover certain uniformities; and by long research they at last succeed in establishing beyond doubt the nature of the moves and rules of the game. But it is obvious that no amount of study of the volume will reveal the true nature either of the participants in the game—the chessmen—or the field of the game—the chess board. With regard to the former, all that is possible is to give arbitrary names distinguishing the chessmen according to their properties; but with regard to the chess-board something more can be stated. The material of the board is unknown, so too are the shapes of the meshes—whether squares or diamonds; but it is ascertainable that the different points of the field are connected with one another by relations of two-dimensional order, and a large number of hypothetical types of chess-board satisfying these relations of order can be constructed. In spite of these gaps in their knowledge, our antiquarians may fairly claim that they thoroughly understand the game of chess.

The application of this analogy is as follows. The recorded games are our physical experiments. The rules of the game, ascertained by study of them, are the laws of physics. The hypothetical chess-board of 64 squares is the space and time of some particular observer or player; whilst the more general relations of two-fold order, are the absolute relations of order in space-time which we have been studying. The chessmen are the entities of physics—electrons, particles, or point-events; and the range of movement may perhaps be compared to the fields of relation radiating from them—electric and gravitational fields, or intervals. By no amount of study of the experiments can the absolute nature or appearance of these participants be deduced; nor is this knowledge relevant, for without it we may yet learn "the game" in all its intricacy. Our knowledge of the nature of things must be like the antiquarians' knowledge of the nature of chessmen, viz. their nature as pawns and pieces in the game, not as carved shapes of wood. In the latter aspect they may have relations and significance transcending anything dreamt of in physics.

It is believed that the familiar things of experience are very complex; and the scientific method is to analyse them into simpler elements. Theories and laws of behaviour of these simpler constituents are studied; and from these it becomes possible to predict and explain phenomena. It seems a natural procedure to explain the complex in terms of the simple, but it carries with it the necessity of explaining the familiar in terms of the unfamiliar.

There are thus two reasons why the ultimate constituents of the real world must be of an unfamiliar nature. Firstly, all familiar objects are of a much too complex character. Secondly, familiar objects belong not to the real world of physics, but to a much earlier stage in the synthesis of appearances. The ultimate elements in a theory of the world must be of a nature impossible to define in terms recognisable to the mind.

And he was talking about theories of the physical universe.   In the past year of thinking about the problem with the materialist "brain-only" mind, I think that the ultimate nature of the mind will, itself, be infinitely farther from the reach of science because any attempt to formulate theories of it out of the practises of science will miss it entirely.

Update:  Oh, really.  Well, it would seem your scientific erudition is greater than that of Albert Einstein who called Eddington's 1923 Mathematical Theory of Relativity "The finest presentation of the topic in any language."   The "crackpot" published the long passage above in 1920.  Bertrand Russell, who definitely hated a lot of the things that Eddington published because it destroyed his 19th century, materialist world view, nevertheless deeply respected Eddington who was just about certainly the greatest British mathematical physicist of his time, certainly one of the greatest in the world.  His more troublesome speculations came far later and they didn't do anything to diminish his standing as one of the great scientists of his time.  

21st century atheists haven't even incorporated the discoveries of a century ago, they remain stuck in the 19th century materialism that even Bertrand Russell knew wasn't viable.  He mistook that failure of his ideology, as he was forced to accept by reading Eddinton's The Nature of the Physical World, 1928, as the death knell of science about ninety years ago.   He was wrong, it only meant that his ideology was impossible, science survives.  It may even survive the further insistence on 19th century materialism that decadently persists into this generation.