Wall-E: Anti capitalist or surprisingly subversive?

Tuesday, July 1. 2008

Wall-E is a wonderful movie, well worth the 98% or so positive rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, but it has the usual Hollywood anti-capitalist overtones (despite being manufactured by one of the largest and most bloated corporations in Hollywood, producers of precisely the mountains of useless junk which, in the movie, Wall-E is consigned to cleaning off the face of the blighted Earth). Or does it?

Seems to me Pixar may have slipped a subversive anti-Communist message past the bleeding heart liberal masses. Given the Randian undertones of The Incredibles and Ratatouille, this is not entirely surprising.

Consider: All property and wealth is owned by a single, central, power -- the Buy-n-Large corporation. Corporation? It has no customers -- all citizens are given all they desire for free. It has no workers, just robots (mostly) without free will. (The only ones who do have obvious free will are not victims of oppression, but are, in fact, the true masterminds behind the civilization -- and, well, our hero and heroine of course.) It has no competition. It has no executives, managers, or workers. There are no unemployed or underemployed. There is no evidence of any economy, money, or exchange going on aboard the Axiom -- all of the bloblike citizens are fed (and fed, and fed...), clothed, housed, and entertained from cradle to grave, for free. They live the ultimate Marxist ideal -- a life without care, struggle, need, or want -- and, as a consequence, a life without purpose or meaning. They are not the Oppressed Proletarian Slaves Of The Capitalist Class; they are the Liberated Workers, who do not actually do, or need to do, any work. Individuality, with all of the conflicts and problems it causes, has been eliminated; fashions change in an instant, conformity is all. The only decisions they must make are how to momentarily distract themselves from the tedium of their unchallenging life.

I find it amusing that many reviewers -- both approvingly leftist and disapprovingly rightist -- accept the world of Wall-E as one of "extreme capitalism" when there is no capitalism in evidence -- there is, after all, no capital! Calling the ruling government a "corporation" no more makes it capitalism than the government of the German Democratic Republic was a democracy. It seems people are often blinded by labels and symbols, instead of looking at the actual facts of the thing. Big shock there.

Not News: Students Promoted Despite Stupidity

Tuesday, April 22. 2008

Another article explaining why the guy at McDonald's can't make change and why people think Paris Hilton is interesting -- schools continue to promote students who have the intellectual capacity of a somewhat addled turnip, but without the chance of being made into a possibly tasty soup. (Well, for some people, I hate turnips, but the point remains...)

If he had been held back and made to retake all his courses with lowerclassmen, he said, "I would have felt bad


Yes, and we can't hurt the feelings of our precious little snowflakes, even if they themselves acknowledge it would make them work harder.

Self esteem is consequence of success, not a cause of it, people!

This is not, contrary to the article, a difficult problem. The answer is dirt simple. Eliminate grades -- not in the sense of 'you got an A', but in the sense of 'you're a third grader'. Assign progressively harder work, from introductory facts to full mastery, as fast as the student can absorb and assimilate it. When the student has reached mastery in all subjects, he graduates. If this happens when he's ten, he has eight glorious years of goofing off before he has to earn a living -- though I suspect he'll do more in those eight years than most of us manage in a lifetime. If it doesn't happen by the time he's eighteen, well, I'm pretty sure there will be some meatgrinder of a war out there he can be a useful part of.

And for Ghu's sake, let's drop all this nonsense about feelings. Your boss isn't going to care if you feel sad when he tells you that you're an incompetent jackass, so let's not start kids off thinking that's how the world works. The later in life they learn that, no, they aren't precious snowflakes, the harder it is for them and the more likely they are to self-destruct in a spectacular fashion. You do not learn to swim by thinking about how scared you are of water; you learn to swim by getting kicked into the deep end and managing to not drown.

(And here's another example of what you get when 'social promotion' rules the day...)

Abortion "Art" A Hoax? Or Not?

Friday, April 18. 2008

We've all heard the uproar over the Yale student who claimed to make performance art out of her miscarriages. Or maybe she didn't. My only general comment on the morality/ethics of this is: So long as my tax dollars aren't being used, I don't give a damn. Ignore the attention whore, and she'll go away. But anyway, I found this article amusing, mostly for this:

"“No one can say with 100-percent certainty that anything in the piece did or did not happen,” Shvarts said, “because the nature of the piece is that it did not consist of certainties.”"


There's something magically wonderful about a person in real life talking like an Ayn Rand villain.

Now, if only someone in real life talked like an Ayn Rand hero. (Ideally with a fast forward option...)

Video Games "As dangerous as smoking"

Wednesday, November 28. 2007

This is another one of those things which I am forced to begin with "As if you needed more proof that...". It's a tired cliche, and I hate it like the plague. (Badum-BUM!) Unfortunately, cliches become cliches because, well, they work.

Sigh.

As if you needed more proof that the goal of those who want to "protect" society is to rule it, we now have the utterly ludicrous assertion, from the Usual Suspects, that playing video games is as dangerous "to society" as smoking -- and thus, one presumes, in need of the same overarching and controlling regulation, along with, natch, oodles of government funding to conduct more "studies". Never mind that crime rates have been plummeting even as the violence in video games has been rising. Never mind that while people riot -- really riot, with real blood, death, and pain -- at sporting events or rap concerts, there has never been a riot at a Million Man LAN or E3. Never mind that "society" does not exist, and thus, cannot be "threatened" or "endangered". Never mind all those, ahem, inconvenient truths. Video games have been allegedly shown to cause "aggression", and that's bad. We must all be good little subservient drones. Aggression means people might decide to fight back -- or at least whine loudly -- when their rights are trampled. A generation raised on games where a lone hero battles impossible odds to achieve victory over a numerically superior, but morally inferior, force might, indeed, decide to take that lesson with them into the real world.

No one will learn how to shoot a gun by playing "Doom". But they might -- just might, mind you, and I'm not really counting on it -- learn that there are times when shooting a gun is the only way to solve a problem -- and that is what the control freaks fear the most.

As a side note, if research on tobacco is as shoddy as research on video games -- and I have no reason, now, to believe it isn't -- I might as well take up smoking a pipe. It'll make me look cool, right?

Nanny State Gets Even Sillier, Part II

Sunday, November 18. 2007

The Neuman Singularity draws ever nearer, as book publishers in the UK tell children's books authors that it's dangerous for dragons to breathe fire, or that thermal heaters need to be colored green, not red. To be fair, these atrocities aren't the direct result of the government -- there's no official inspector of children's books (yet) mandating these changes -- but they are the indirect result of the government not shooting enough lawyers, which ought to be considered a proper function of maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of society. Socialists and others who believe in an activist State ought to agitate for the shooting of lawyers to become one of the duties of the EPA, while us libertarian/conservative types will be happy with allowing private citizens to keep the herds culled in the name of preserving the ecosystem for all living things.

From the article:

"Sales and marketing departments are worried something might offend somebody, or that a child might copy something in a book and their parents will sue the publisher."


And while we're at it, the world could use a few less of a certain type of parent...

Sigh. I've got a little list, I've got a little list...

Creationist Thinks World Is Flat....Maybe

Friday, September 21. 2007

In this hilarious video, we see View co-host Sherri Shephard declaring that a)she doesn't believe in evolution, b)She neither knows nor cares if the world is flat or round, because she "has to feed her kid". Uhm...last time I checked, if you were a co-host of a hugely popular (Ghu knows why!) TV show, you don't have problems feeding your kid, not unless he, I don't know, eats diamonds or something. Please note also this person home-schools. Please run that through your brain a moment -- someone who doesn't know if the Earth is flat or round (and doesn't care, because she wants to 'feed her kid') deems herself fit to teach her child about the maybe-flat, maybe-not, world. I have no objections to homeschooling -- most parents, after all, care more for their child's education than the government does -- but morons should not only not be allowed to homeschool, they shouldn't be allowed to breed. Where's CPS when we really need it? (Thanks to the Daily Background for the link.)

Lizard MSTs Gary Cross

Tuesday, September 18. 2007

It's been far too long since I did a good MSTing...here we go. Original Article is here.


THE chief executive of Mattel, Robert Eckert, has just apologized to America’s parents for allowing hundreds of thousands of Chinese-made toys decorated with leaded paint or containing powerful magnets into the country, exposing children to danger.

Magnets?

What's the deal? Why are magnets dangerous to kids? I used to play with magnets all the time, being a scientifically-minded child.

This is admirable, as is the recall of these toys and the toy industry’s request that Congress impose mandatory toy safety testing standards. But what Mr. Eckert and other major toy makers should also apologize for is the toys themselves and the way they are promoted.

Ah, here comes the boilerplate "Back in my day, we played with a pointy stick, and we LIKED it!" rant.

When I looked at Mattel’s list of recently recalled toys, it became obvious that something more than our dependence on foreign goods or even the physical safety of children is at stake here. The problem is that the toys and the business model that creates them has so little to do with the needs of children and their parents.


Children need things to distract them. Parents need distracted children. What else?

On the list were 56 Polly Pocket sets (including a Lip Gloss Studio Playset), 11 Doggie Daycare toys, 4 Batman figures, 43 Sesame Street toys (not just Elmo Stacking Rings but Giggle Grabber Soccer Elmo and Grow Me Elmo Sprinkler), 10 Dora the Explorers and more than a score of assorted figures and cars. These are designed mostly for preschoolers; none encourage violence and many feature the cute and caring. But, a parent might ask, why 56 Polly Pocket sets? Wouldn’t a half-dozen meet the needs of any child?

Ah, but not every child's needs are met by the SAME half dozen. (To the extent one 'needs' a Polly Pocket, that is) Variety, spice of life, etc.

I can't count how many LEGO sets I aquired in my wayward youth. For that matter, why are there 1120 programming languages (at least) extant, when the vast majority of the code the world needs can be written in a half-dozen or so? (http://www.99-bottles-of-beer.net/abc.html)

Yet most of us are not shocked by this list. Indeed, a business model that sells endless additions to basic toys even when they have nothing to do with any recognized child-rearing ideal or even imaginative play seems natural.


How about "Getting toys is fun"? Does anyone remember THAT part of childhood?

This wasn’t always the case. In the early 1970s, child advocates like Action for Children’s Television recognized that television ads for toys had a magical power over children. They tried to ban these commercials to give parents, not toy companies, control over the desires of their offspring. In 1978, Michael Pertschuk, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, argued that ads appealing to young children were inherently “unfair.”


This was the dread and dire error that gave us the "Sunshine Family" dolls. Not to mention some of the most horridly dull and banal cartoons in the history of mankind.

The toy and candy industries, which advertised directly to children, mobilized and accused the commission and child advocates of trying to restrict commercial-free speech and of wanting a nanny state.

Gee, they claimed laws regulating the content of speech violated the First Amendment! What sort of sick unAmerican logic is that? Oh wait -- it's perfectly sane, very American, logic. Sorry.

In 1980, Congress complied by prohibiting the commission from regulating ads aimed at children.


And cartoons -- and toys -- got a whole lot better. Notice how many adults still cling to nostalgic love for 80s toys and cartoon shows? Notice how FEW feel the same about the 1970s? Why is that, do you think?


About the same time, toy makers noticed that their earnings from selling “Star Wars” characters were more profitable than the movies themselves and fully embraced character licensing. Aided by the early ’80s deregulation of ads, Mattel, Hasbro and others created cartoons that were essentially program-length commercials.

And so much cooler than "Wheelie And The Chopper Bunch" or "Captain Caveman".

This was a superb model for business success, but it hasn’t been such a good way to raise children.


Yeah, this was shown when the children of the 80s grew up in the 90s and led America into a hideous, crime-filled depression. Oh wait -- the 90s were a period of unprecedented economic growth and incredible drops in the rate of violent crime. The 70s, OTOH, the product of the hippie values of the 60s, were a time of economic and social nightmare when THAT generation came 'of age' and promptly demonstrated that only could they not change the world, they couldn't even run it properly.

Since 1973, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has set standards and recalled hazardous toys, protecting the physical safety of children. But government does nothing to protect children’s psychological needs.


Because we really, really, WANT the government deciding what kind of play children should be allowed to engage in? "No more badplay for you, Pre-Citizen Unit Billy18564! Report to re-education camp 7 for goodplay++!"

Sure, youngsters want this stuff (after all, they see it on television every day) and they find ways of playing with these toys, sometimes imaginatively abandoning the commercial back story of the characters.

But, dammit, I hate it when they do that! They ruin my theory! Damn those kids!

But the problem is that the fun built into the toy is mostly in receiving the latest Polly Pocket and adding it to a collection, rather than playing with it. Additive — if not addictive — desire is created and satisfied by these toy lines. They serve little positive purpose other than to teach children to be good consumers and want all the Dora the Explorer toys.

Still not seeing the problem, says the man who, as a kid, gained tremendous pleasure from organizing his comic books, Star Wars cards, and so on, and gained a lot of fun from perusing catalogs and imagining how he would spend his (very meagre) allowance on the items within. Aquisition is a form of pleasure in itself, for children and adults. (http://photo.xanga.com/lizard_SF/albums/f4d7c6363758a)

Many people might associate this selling tactic with violent action figures or Barbie and Bratz dolls, but PBS Kids’ cartoon characters and Children’s Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) puppets have been licensed to the toy companies since 1971. How many toddlers do you know who are obsessed with anything having to do with Elmo and Thomas the Tank Engine toys?


None, but I only know two.

Perhaps it’s time to rethink the decision to allow the unrestricted advertising and cartoon promotion of toy lines that has produced year-round marketing and piles of plastic toys, bought and soon discarded. After all, we ought to be just as concerned about the impact of character licensing and toy advertising on our children’s psyche as we are on protecting them from ingesting leaded paint and magnets.

Seems to me that there is already a law in place to prevent children from getting inappropriate toys. It's called "I'm the (Mommy/Daddy) and I said NO!"

Gary Cross, a professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, is the author of “Kids’ Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood.”

Stop writing about 'em, Gary, and start playing with 'em. You've forgotten what it means to be a kid.

Well, I'd Hit It...

Thursday, June 21. 2007

...if not, you know, for the whole "getting back together with the ex-wife" thing...

Apparently, a Brazilian ad agency is trying to terrify women who are slightly larger than the average toothpick into buying their low fat yogurt because, according to them, no man on the planet finds any woman who does not resemble a flesh colored skeleton to be sexy.

Frankly, this kind of reeks of desperation to me. Perhaps Brazil is getting away from the anorexia fixation which dominates so much of world and this scares advertisers, and so, they are trying to convince women who are comfortable with their bodies not to be?

Especially insulting is the idea that all men have the same tastes. In a sort of karmic perfection, the ad company has managed to demean, objectify, and insult both genders at once.

Lizard Predicts: This will have a happy ending, as guys who like women who are readily distinguishable from stick figures will buy up all manner of advertising material featuring the models...but not the yogurt.

"Freebirthing" -- More Chlorine For The Gene Pool

Monday, May 28. 2007

One of the great tragedies of our era is that evolution is partially stalled. We have many, many, ways for morons to kill themselves, but most of the time, they do this well after breeding age. If they survive to leave offspring, they are not removing themselves from the gene pool, and their moronic offspring live to pass on their...uh...moronicity. The problem with smoking, for example, isn't that it kills the idiots -- it's that it kills them in their 50s, 60s, and 70s...not, say, their early teens, when they start. By the time a smoker hacks their bloody lungs up all over the carpet at age 55, they've got children and probably grandchildren who all inherited the "do something self destructively stupid so people who I don't really care about will pretend to like me" gene. (I think that one's located on the 17th chromosome, not sure, bio class was a long time ago. Someone check the human genome project for me, 'kay? Thx.)

Fortunately, while genius has limits, stupidity does not. In the sort of innovation which only the seriously dain-bramaged can come up with, the latest "fad" sweeping the affluent and stupid of Europe (and probably America) is "freebirthing". While "natural childbirth" merely did away with anything to dull the mind-blistering agony of, as has been commonly stated, sucking a bowling ball through a straw, "freebirthing" does away with any sort of outside help whatsoever. We're not just talking hippy-dippy "I don't want those Evil White Male Doctors invading my Sacred Feminine Space" nonsense, which at least allows for midwives and other Traditional Icons Of Female Empowerment. Freebirthing abolishes even those interfering busybodies. As is usual with modern neo-luddites, the participants show no knowledge of science or history, evoking some of the most ludicrous technobabble I've seen since my last visit to a Creationist website and hearkening back to a non-existent time when women gave birth in total isolation from the rest of their community.

There are many laws (of course) in the EU to regulate and restrict this, and these laws are, in Lizard's opinion, wrong. There is so much that can go wrong with a birth that the odds are good a significant number of these freebirthers will either lose their child, their lives, or both, and thus finally get a tiny bit of T3h st00pid out of the human gene pool. Every little bit helps! The freebirthers are evidently unaware that:

a)Even in the most technologically primitive of societies, birth is a social event. Shamans, priests, midwives, whatever, all appeared because birth isn't very natural for humans. Our brains evolved a lot faster than our hips, and it is those brains which allowed us to respond to the many dangers of birth sufficiently well that the human race didn't literally die in childbirth. A human female is perfectly evolved to give birth to a baby gorilla.

b)Throughout history, the most common way for women to die was in childbirth. Let me just note this was not due to too many doctors or too much knowledge.

c)Humans are not a natural species. We have externalized all of our adaptations. We skin animals. We cook food. We hunt with tools. We communicate with symbolic language. And we give birth with the assistance of other humans who have acquired specialized knowledge. "Freebirth" is wholly unnatural for humans -- as unnatural as trying to live without tools, fire, clothing, or language.

Reality Has, Once Again, Outpaced Satire -- Part II

Tuesday, May 22. 2007

And so, the Neuman Singularity continues to approach.

October 2, 2002. Satire.

May 21, 2007: Reality.

Lizard wishes there was something he could add to this.

This Week's Abomination

Tuesday, April 3. 2007

It has been noted that material objects, such as, oh, I dunno, guns, have no intrinsic morality. A gun cannot be good or evil; it is a tool, and as such, it can be used for good or evil purposes. What is interesting, to me, is that almost any object, no matter how seemingly neutral or even intrinsically benign it appears, can become a means of inflicting harm.

For example, Lego.

Now, hang on. Lizard loves Legos. Lego is perhaps the best toy in the world that doesn't require electricity. Legos are tools for the imagination. They encourage creativity, exploration, experimentation, and learning. They show, metaphorically, how things are made up of things. They show one thing can be reduced to its parts (losing its emergent identity as a thing greater than the sum of said parts) and how those parts can be used to make something wholly new -- just as there is no difference between the electrons in a rock and the electrons in a tree, it's all a matter of how they're put together from those primal components. In short, Legos r00l!!!

Unless, of course, they fall into the hands of socialists who are allowed to deal with children. Then, just as a gun becomes a tool for evil in the hands of a madman, Legos, too, become tools for teaching evil. And what is the root of all evil, boys and girls? Collectivism. How can you take something as fundamentally friendly to the individual creative instinct and turn it into a tool for indoctrination into groupthink? Well, as the bumper sticker goes, "Ask a Teacher".

It has always been fascinating to me how those who do the most evil are blithely unaware of their own moral failure. A serial killer who kills and eats people at least has the moral sense to hide the bodies. A cat who pisses on the rug makes a feeble attempt to bury it. But these "teachers"? Not only do they not attempt to hide the fact they are abusing -- yes, abusing, there is no other word for it -- the children in their care, they openly boast of it in public, expecting to be lauded for their destructive attacks on the minds of the innocent.

Perhaps there should be a Megan's Law for "teachers" of this sort. We would not allow someone with a history of physically abusing children to teach them; why not at least warn people that there are those who will mentally abuse children working at a school? While, in a free society, any ideas are allowed to be expressed, and parents can indoctrinate their children in whatever cult they wish, teaching whatever lies they desire to the young and impressionable, it seems to me that some sort of fair warning is not too much to ask for from the already over-intrusive nanny-state. If we have to have artificial logs labeled as dangerously flammable, if ladders must bear safety warnings longer than the Bill of Rights, if "trans fats" can be banned as if lard was somehow contagious, then, we might as well have Big Brother do some good and warn parents who are sending their children to expensive private schools that known socialists teach there. If their parents still wish to inflict such horrors on their children, well, that is the price of freedom -- we do not, collectively, decide how a child's mind may or may not be warped. And since the school is private, there is no way anyone not going there can have a government-enforced say in their curriculum (though, of course, the expression of opinions is perfectly valid -- one is as free to criticize a private institution as a public one, hoping to influence them for the better).

On the other hand, Yours Truly went to a High School filled with leftist indoctrination, and all it did was make me into an Angry Rebel. So perhaps this school is actually raising the next crop of individualist activists -- after all, nothing will turn someone against collectivism faster than seeing his own, individual, works credited to the group and being told his creations must be altered to conform to the prevailing standards.

And The Madness Continues...

Wednesday, March 7. 2007

OK.

So, it's apparently alright for 8 year old girls to play with dolls whose outfits would embarrass most streetwalkers, but the use of the word 'vagina' by teenagers is now verboten. The principle, showing the courage, morality, ethics, and understanding of human rights typical of his ilk (that is, he is acting like a cowardly, book-burning, weasel) claimed the word should not have been used in front of "unsuspecting" parents and children. Awwwww! Did the mean ol' word jump and mug them? Did it batter them about the head and shoulders with blunt objects? Did the word make them all scared and confused? Aw!

Grow the goddamn fucking hell up, people!

"Vagina" is the proper, accepted, non-profane, non-obscene, scientific and correct term for a woman's genitals. It is a part of her body, a functional component no different from an arm, an eye, or a leg. We apparently have not much evolved beyond the Victorian era when, allegedly, stocking were put on table legs. There is no reason for any child of any age to be unable to understand the basics of human anatomy. A word which describes a body part possessed by roughly half the population should in no way be considered offensive, shocking, or scary. It is not something anyone needs to be protected from or shielded against.

The principle should be fired, and banned from working with children ever again. While he is on the unemployment line, he might want to consider learning about other bodily parts, namely, balls. If he had a pair, this wouldn't have happened.

(AS a side note, Lizard heartily supports any interpretation of feminism that encourages women to wear short skirts.)

Not Just Fluff -- Downright Evil

Wednesday, February 28. 2007

So.

Apparently, the latest bestseller in the "Self Help" section is some piece of repulsive twaddle called "The Secret", which, based on summaries I've seen here and there, claims that all you need to be successful is to want to be successful, that you 'attract' wealth to yourself by thinking about money, or that you drive it away by thinking about poverty. Well, it certainly has worked for the author, who is currently raking it in.

Now, I am the kind of guy who believes in letting people suffer the consequences of their own stupidity. If there's people gullible enough to fall for this crap, let 'em. "All men have the right to dig their own graves; I have the right to sell them the shovels", says Lizard.

However...I also reserve the right to call people on their evil. If you are actively leading people to harm, as opposed to merely letting them suffer the consequences of their own self-generated folly, you are evil. You may be acting within your rights -- surely, no one should be banning self-destructive 'advice' -- but you're still evil.

A philosophy which teaches that failure is a consequence not of bad reasoning or bad choices or bad luck, but of insufficient desire or faith, is an evil philosophy. It cripples and kills. It teaches people that if Bad Things happen to them, it's because they aren't good enough or strong enough or devout enough. I've seen this happen to Christians who were raised to believe that faith is all they needed, that if the burdens kept piling up and they couldn't take it, it was because their faith was weak, that what they needed was to just trust God more.

Now, if you limit this utter nonsense to, as one example put it, finding a parking spot, it's merely snicker-worthy. But people buying this tripe aren't looking for parking lots -- they're looking for life success, and, when they don't get it, what will happen? Will they look at their plans, their investments, their actions, their deeds, try to figure out what went wrong, and change it? Or will they berate themselves for not being 'positive' enough, for not 'believing', as if belief could ever, in isolation, accomplish anything?

Self-esteem is both cause and consequence. Of course, you must believe you can accomplish something before you try it -- but such a belief must be based on past accomplishments. Progress comes from small successes leading to larger ones, from learning from failures, from accepting blame when it is your fault and not accepting it when it is not, and from understanding that we all live in a reality which is not at all amenable to simple desire. Desire is an impetus for action, nothing more, and without action, nothing happens.

I'm not going to lose weight by not looking at fat people -- a suggestion the book actually makes. I'm going to lose weight by looking at my calorie intake and going to the gym. If I fail, it's not because I didn't think positively enough; it's because I made bad choices and am now suffering the consequences.

I would love to see the author of this drivel go to a refugee camp in Darfur, and tell the people there -- the starving, the maimed, the raped, the destroyed -- that they caused all this suffering, that they 'attracted' this harm to them, and if only they had thought more positive thoughts, it would never have happened. Tell them they can will themselves out of the camps simply by imagining that they are no longer in them.

I'd be happy to supply a few good feet of hemp rope to each and every inhabitant of those camps, for use after the speech.

You Can't Be Too Good At Anything...Even Charity

Sunday, December 24. 2006

And people wonder why I hold altruism in contempt. It is such a twisted, corrupt, and sick philosophy that it rejects even those who try to live by its tenets -- if they commit the sin of competence. If you are too good at helping others, you must be punished, lest those who are not as good as you have their widdle feewings all huwt. Achievement is a sin -- even if all you are achieving is a greater degree of self-sacrifice.

Pathetic.

(My charitable donations this season consisted of a ~30.00 purchase through Child's Play for the local Children's Hospital, and...uhm...something else, can't remember what, but it was about ten bucks worth. And, of course, the endless cat food buffet on the front porch.)

In Praise of McDonalds [Fragment]

Sunday, September 3. 2006

At Dragoncon, which is why the update are sparse. But here's this:

On a list I'm on, someone complained that it's horrible, just horrible, that America's best known export is a restaurant which serves mediocre food for low prices. I responded:

It's a symbol of equality -- everyone eats at McDonalds, rich and poor alike. It's a symbol of opportunity -- you start out as a burger flipper to earn your first spending money. It's a symbol of unity -- no matter where you go, North or South, there's a McDonalds, and the food always tastes the same. E Pluribus Unum, encapsulated in a Big Mac.

And it's a symbol of the rule of law -- only in a society with a strong legal system can a corporation like McDonalds grow from a single restauraunt to a huge chain.

All of these are good things, and things Darfur (and the rest of the third world) desperately lacks.