Friday salmagundi

• It’s not a good sign if your church has a high-priced corporate fixer PR guy on staff. It’s also not a good sign if that high-priced corporate fixer PR guy is pretentious enough to quote Shakespeare without understanding that maybe Polonius isn’t meant to be a trustworthy source of wisdom.

• Speaking of over-rated PR spinmeisters, I’m sure that former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer doesn’t really believe that Nazi Germany “followed the law of war.” I’m sure that if you were talking to him in some abstract, contextless setting far-removed from the partisan spin that has been his career, he would likely agree that the Nazis were war criminals and that Nuremberg wasn’t wrong to find them guilty of war crimes.

It’s just that once you have — like Fleischer — committed yourself to contradicting President Obama about absolutely everything, then you’re bound to wind up uttering some wildly monstrous, foolish lies, like saying that Nazi Germany “followed the law of war.”

Let’s put a better, more deserving war hero on the $20.

• The first Roger Ebert Film Festival since the beloved critic’s passing was a solemn, somber affair — with Ebert’s wife, Chaz, joined by Academy-Award winner Tilda Swinton for a moving musical tribute. I would like for this to happen at my funeral too. (via)

• Televangelist Matthew Hagee finally comes out publicly … against gay people coming out publicly. I’d always suspected that the younger Hagee was secretly pro-closet. It was brave of him to say so on television.

• I think Stephen Fry would be very pleased with this comparison. And now I’d kind of like to see him cast in a revival of 1776.

• And while we’re at John Fea’s blog … he asks, “Should the Democratic Party Dump Andrew Jackson?

Yes. Yes they should. They should have a long time ago. Let the Republicans have him — make him the player to be named later in the same deal in which they claimed Andrew Johnson off of waivers.

And while we’re at it, let’s get him off the $20 bill, too. Replace him with Harriet Tubman. (Because can you come up with someone more deserving or more all-around awesome than Harriet Tubman? No. No you cannot.)

• The government is over-paying its government football coaches. After all, more than half the football coaches on the government payroll are losing more than half of their games. And half of all coaches are below average.

• Lying to school administrators about illegally bringing guns to school property? This kid sounds like Liberty University material! Give him a scholarship!

• Republicans are hoping that lying about Planned Parenthood won’t backfire disastrously like it did in the last election cycle.

• White evangelicals are hoping that lying about Planned Parenthood won’t continue to erode their souls and shrivel their hearts the way this habitual bearing of false witness has for the past three decades. (I’m very serious about the soul-eroding, heart-shriveling effect of this. Lying about “bad people” is really, really dangerous for one’s spiritual health.)

• If you don’t believe in democracy and voting, then the Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Party may be for you: “The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.”

Don’t vote, shoot. Bullets, not ballots. You’ve gotta love it when the GOP and the NRA are quoting Chairman Mao.

• Arizona AG Tom Horne should resign, then run for mayor of Toronto.

Why is a minor traffic accident interesting? As it turns out, when Arizona’s attorney general hit another car and drove away without leaving a note, he very likely would have gotten away with it, except, unbeknownst to him, Horne was being followed by FBI agents who saw the incident and reported what happened.

And why were FBI agents following the state attorney general? Because federal law enforcement suspects [Tom] Horne may be guilty of breaking federal campaign finance laws, illegally coordinating with an outside political group.

What’s more, making this just a little more entertaining, the Arizona Republican drove away after hitting that other car in part because his passenger is one of his subordinates, with whom Horne has had an extra-marital affair.

Incidentally, Horne, ostensibly Arizona’s top law-enforcement official, initially lied about hitting the other car and declined to cooperate in the police investigation.

On the bright side for Horne: It seems he was sober at the time of the accident.

 

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 80: 'Still not creepy enough'
That rug really tied the room together
NRA: Everyone dies, rocks fall
Thursday de Mayo
  • Hexep

    I think Chairman Mao should be on one of our bills, but not on all of them. We should put Sun Zhongshan and Deng Xiaoping on them, too, but the rest would all have to be emperors. I don’t know which one, though.

    I wish we could put some women on our money, but we’re left with the really sad position that the two most famous women in Chinese history were both, by most regards, really awful people.

  • Jamoche

    I play a D&D variant where each round’s player order is determined by drawing cards. We swap between two decks our GM picked up in China – one with emperors, the other with Mao. The Mao deck warns us that playing with the cards is disrespectful, it’s only meant as a reminder of our time in China.

  • jimmyfromchicago

    Communists with sacred images. Hilarious.

  • Abel Undercity

    My personal hypothesis on Communist nations is that they’re actually theocracies, with the State shoehorned into the role of God.

  • reynard61

    You, Billy Graham, and pretty much every other Cold War-era Evangelical that ever picked up a Bible…

    (Admittedly there may have been an exception or two; but, from what anti-Communist literature [and I use that word *very* loosely] I’ve read, it seems to have been the common doctrine of the time.)

  • Abel Undercity

    Who knew I’d ever have something in common with Billy Graham? Bilateral symmetry aside, of course… ;-)

  • eyelessgame

    Joseph Campbell had been known to refer to “Zoroastrian-Judeo-Christian-Islamic-Marxist” philosophy – the one where the world started out perfect; man fell from grace; there is now a struggle between good and evil; very soon now good will win and the world will regain perfection.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Oh Joseph Campbell, is there any collection of varied stories and ideas you can’t reduce to variations on a single theme by stripping out the fact that there are differences for an important reason, and thereby destroy a generation of creative thinking by convincing everyone that the ONLY valid way to tell a story is by doing a variation on his monolithic idea and anything that deviates too far is doomed to unmarketability?

  • Kaleberg

    Deng Xiaoping was a noted bridge player, so he’d like winding up on a deck of cards. The New York Times bridge column had an obituary for him.

  • Hexep

    I HAVE THOSE EXACT CARDS.

    And I play with them all the time.

  • reynard61

    I realize that she’s possibly/probably fictional (and not just because she’s the main character in a recent Disney movie), but what about Hua Mulan?

    (And, yes; I would definitely support putting Harriet Tubman on a piece of American currency, but I would rather it be on a $20 gold or platinum coin commemorating the upcoming 200th anniversary of her birth in 1820.)

  • Hexep

    She wasn’t real. The only record of her that exists was a single song-ballad that can’t be dated, and the most likely cause that she fought for has fallen into disrepute.

  • The_L1985

    Oh, darn. After Disney made a fictionalized account of the Pocahontas story, I was sort of hoping.

  • Hexep

    In any case, the cause she was most likely fighting for (the Northern Wei dynasty) is now rather re-classified as a ‘bad guy’ dynasty, like the Yuan or the later Zhou.

    It’s like if there was a Confederate version of… Molly Pitcher, I guess? Personal heroism, but we don’t like her cause anymore.

    EDIT: and it’s not to say that Disney made her up, or that they heavily fictionalized a real person. She’s a folk-legend over here already.

  • The_L1985

    Disney doesn’t make any character up outside of the CGI Pixar films. All of them (except Pocahontas) were from Western fiction written before 1935. The other “Disney Princesses” were from folk-legends dating waaay back when (Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty were all collected in the Grimm anthology of fairy tales in the early 19th century, but their stories are probably much, much older.)

  • Hexep

    Is that so? Hold on a moment, let me count on my fingers.

    Hmmm…

    Yes, you’re right. I never noticed that before. Good eye.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Lilo & Stitch? Lady and the Tramp? Aristocats? Wreck-it Ralph?

    The books that the Rescuers, 101 Dalmations, Black Cauldron, and the Great Mouse Detective were based on were written in the 50s or later.

    Unless you’re referring specifically to their princess movies, there are a bunch that either aren’t based on anything, or are so tenuously connected to the thing they’re based on that the original source material just serves as a jumping off point.

    If you were referring specifically to their princess movie, then sure, point granted.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The books that the Rescuers, 101 Dalmations, Black Cauldron, and the Great Mouse Detective were based on were written in the 50s or later.
    Great Mouse Detective is Sherlock Holmes, isn’t it?

    And don’t forget that Disney does live-action straight-to-Disney-Channel movies. Pretty sure some of them are wholly original, though the only one I can think of off the top of my head isn’t.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Great Mouse Detective is Sherlock Holmes, isn’t it?

    Only indirectly. The Great Mouse Detective is based on a book series called “Basil of Baker Street”. It’s sort of halfway between “Sherlock Holmes as a mouse” and “Ben & Me with Sherlock Holmes instead of Ben Franklin”

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    I was very surprised to see that “Lady and the Tramp” and “The Aristocats” were based on books and stories.

    However, you can add “The Emperor’s New Groove,” and “Brother Bear” to the (admittedly very short) list of movies that were original to Disney.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Were they? I thought Lady and the Tramp was original.

    The Lion King also wasn’t directly based on anything; I don’t know why I forgot that one.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Um. Hamlet?

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Hamlet was a starting point much more so than the basis for an adaptation. I wouldn’t call Underworld an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, after all.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Okay, fair enough.

  • reynard61

    “Were they? I thought Lady and the Tramp was original.”

    Lady and the Tramp was loosely based on an unpublished story, Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog, and Miss Patsy, the Beautiful Spaniel by Ward Greene.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    The Lion King also wasn’t directly based on anything

    There’s a fair bit of evidence that it was at the very least ‘inspired’ by an anime called Jungle Emperor Taitei. i

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimba_the_White_Lion#The_Lion_King_controversy

  • reynard61

    Okay, I’ve gotta know; was that downvote for my suggestion of putting Hua Mulan on Chinese currency, or was it for suggesting the Harriet Tubman commemorative coin? (If it was for the Harriet Tubman coin, I’ll have you know that I’m actually quite flattered.)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Mulan.

  • reynard61

    Really?! Pardon my skepticism, but from what I’ve been reading you don’t exactly strike me as the type who gives a rat’s @$$ about who does or doesn’t appear on Chinese currency. Just sayin’…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Well, I did chart the course of the northernmost of the Great Walls of China. Just sayin’.
    http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/422-mile-jin-dynasty-wall-of-china/

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Mulan may not have been real, but Wang Cong’er was: http://www.lucylawless.net/documentaries/warrior-women/ww-episode-4.php

  • Hexep

    Due to recent events involving certain religious groups, Wang Conger’s White Lotus society has been re-classified into being historical villains, so I’m afraid she’s out.

  • The_L1985

    If Mulan was real, I’d totally vote for her to be on Chinese currency just for being badass.

  • histrogeek

    Ari should go on a tour of Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Ukraine to explain about how the Nazis followed the “law of war.” If he’s still alive afterward, he can rest up in Italy and France.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    You typed “Ookrayeena” twice.

  • Tortorro

    To be fair, Ukraine really got it hard.

  • AnonaMiss

    You do know that in actual Ukrainian it does have a ‘j’ sound at the front, right?

    Or was that something other than a hilariously bad attempt at a Russian-ish accent?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I know Russian, but not Ukrainian.
    For some reason, AnonaMiss showed up as Maniraptor.
    Darn D*sq*s.

  • AnonaMiss

    …Your name wouldn’t happen to be Steve, would it?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No. Why?

  • AnonaMiss

    You remind me of a guy from my high school Russian classes named Steve.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Why? Did he have political positions similar to mine?

  • AnonaMiss

    Yeah. He also had a know-it-all attitude; a flippant disregard for anyone his political positions would hurt; and a flair for trolling.

    I was a much more right-wing libertarian at the time than I am now, and even so couldn’t stand him.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Was he an atheist?

  • AnonaMiss

    Could have been. If he had a religion, he didn’t wear it on his sleeve.

    I had the vague impression he was Christian, but I was Christian myself at the time, so I tended to project it on everyone around me who wasn’t Asian. (I’m not sure if that attitude was more racist towards Asian people, or towards everyone else).

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, for some obscure reason, Disqus is counting downvotes on my comments as upvotes.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Also, as I am strongly doubtful of your claim, can you reference a source backing it?

  • AnonaMiss

    What? Of course not. Can you reference a source backing the political views of the girl who sat next to you in your 10th grade English class? Without breaching your anonymity?

    Why would I even make him up? I’m not trying to support a point. I took the opportunity to get in some zingers I guess, but I wouldn’t have to make up a fictional Steve to say all that.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    No, not about Steve- I believe your claims about him. About the beginning of the word pronounced in Russian as “Ookrayeena”.

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh! Sorry.

    …Hm. Sources I’m finding online are using y, but my Ukrainian coworkers I was pretty damn sure were saying ю. Could be a case of language mixing, or me mishearing. I’ll see if I can get up the courage to ask at work tomorrow.

  • Susan Paxton

    Greece too. Part of Greece’s problem even now is that the Nazis absolutely stripped them during the war, and if I were Greek I’d be inclined to kick Angela Merkel’s testicles up between her shoulderblades.

  • konrad_arflane

    Yeah, well… I don’t know that that would do any good. Not only is Mr. Fleischer Jewish; according to Wikipedia, his mother lost much of her family in the Holocaust. If he doesn’t already know the score about the Nazis, I don’t know what would set him straight.

  • Kaleberg

    But the Nazis did follow the Geneva Convention, unlike certain American presidents. I’ve known enough POW survivors to recognize that.

  • reynard61

    As pointed out above, they tended to be rather selective about it with regard to the Western Allies. The article points out the Malmedy massacre that occurred during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. There was also the murder of fifty British, Commonwealth and other Allied airmen on Hitler’s direct orders after the “Great Escape” in March, 1944.

    The brutal treatment of Soviet POWs was a great deal more expansive because, of course, Hitler regarded the Russians, as a race, to be üntermenschen (“sub-human”) and a) did not particularly care what anyone thought about his actions in Russia; and b) didn’t think that there would be any consequences to deal with anyway.

  • Kaleberg

    When I was a kid, a friend’s father had been a Russian in a German POW camp. He had a few tales to tell that made American and English POW stories look tame in comparison. The best story, of course, was of his escape. He wore an old cow skin glued on with pine resin and sort of wandered out into the winter woods.
    – K

  • hf

    Yes, I think a rational psychopath – if he had to invade the Soviet Union at all – would have tried to get those people on his side with an “I’m not Stalin” propaganda campaign. Instead Hitler somehow managed to exceed (by some reckonings) the death toll from Stalin’s entire reign.

    It’s like a mind-bogglingly evil version of a D&D character making ‘chaotic’ decisions by rolling dice.

  • histrogeek

    The Nazis followed the POW conventions with regard to Western prisoners. Eastern European allies were rarely treated well. Soviet POWs were the third-largest victim group for the Nazis (after Jews and Gypsies). The so-commissars order (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commissar_order) specifically denied POW status to virtually all Communist Party members, particularly the political officers who were part of nearly all Red Army units. To say nothing of Polish and Czech Army officers who rotted in labor camps unless they agreed to help purge Jews.

  • SkyknightXi

    Chasing a further link on the bit about the second amendment, it’s interesting that the reason for the phrasing using “state” is because of Southern pressure. They were worried the nation as a whole might decide slave patrol militias were unwarranted…

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Am I the only one for whom Slacktivist just DISAPPEARED? I have this page still open in my browser, and any page I try to open redirects to the Patheos homepage.

  • j_bird

    It’s happening for me with other patheos blogs, but not slacktivist

  • JustoneK

    it happened to me with all of patheos for a minute or so. weird.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Wow, and now Patheos itself just went 404, giving me a “could not contact the origin” error.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    You are not, but it has since come back for me, at least for the moment.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    And disappeared again. Putting this in via disqus dashboard because I can’t get to the actual page.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Even though this is Patheos and not Disqus, I feel like it’s the latter having found a way to ruin their service even more.

  • Tortorro

    Maybe Disqus is actively infecting other software now. Pretty soon your Web browsers will start cycling through random pages of ads while you’re trying to surf, your email client will start secretly inserting typos and obscenities into your correspondence… If it doesn’t stop, pretty soon nothing will work.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    It happened to me too.

    Btw: this downvoting of completely innocuous comments = exactly what Scientologists at Tony Ortega’s blog do. “I don’t like this person so I will blindly downvote them every chance I get no matter what!” is not a terribly logical decision.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    What nonsense, hypocrite! I do sometimes upvote AnonymousSam’s comments. I downvoted this one since I try to rate every comment on Slacktivist threads I comment in and the comment you replied to did not apply to me. Besides, I didn’t start this downvoting of completely innocuous comments. Apparently, when it happens to AnonymousSam, Lliira notices. When it happens to me, Lliira turns a blind eye.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    And Mommy, he started it!

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t mind downvotes of irrelevant comments; I do mind downvotes of relevant comments that the audience is generally supposed to agree with.

  • Foelhe

    Dude, nobody’s supposed to agree with anything. We agree or disagree. And one of the reasons you get so many downvotes is because you suck at pandering.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I don’t pander. I either agree or disagree with the commentators here.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I suspect one of the reasons why EH gets so many downvotes is because he makes such a big deal out of the voting system. Aunursa’s another person the community frequently disagrees with, but he hasn’t shown any interest in how the votes go (to my memory, anyway).

  • reynard61

    No, he sucks at *commenting*. To me he comes off as an über-Mr. Spock-wannabe/know-it-all who’s trying to impress everyone with his Vast Knowledge of Everything, Ever; but ends up alienating everyone with his overweening egotism. Hell; in my younger days, *I* was exactly the same way. (I’d like to think that I might have mellowed a bit — though I’m pretty sure that my own desire to show off sometimes gets the better of me. Just gotta keep reminding myself: “You are *NOT* omnescient! There’s *ALWAYS* someone out there smarter than you on certain subjects…”)

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    To me he comes off as an über-Mr. Spock-wannabe/know-it-all who’s trying to impress everyone with his Vast Knowledge of Everything, Ever; but ends up alienating everyone with his overweening egotism.

    I don’t know Everything, Ever. I might not be omniscient, but I view myself as correct unless shown otherwise.

  • reynard61

    “I might not be omniscient, but I view myself as correct unless shown otherwise.”

    Why am I not surprised? You must have been either very entertaining or very frustrating to your teachers.

  • Foelhe

    I don’t think you can distill it down to one thing, honestly. There are so many reasons to knock on EH’s posts you could probably write a thesis on it.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Patheos in general has been buggy for me all day. I’ve gotten errors repeatedly when trying to open a page…It’ll say that I need to refresh, but just keep landing on the same error page for a goof 5ish minutes and then randomly work again.

    I think someone forgot to feed the hamsters.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Happened to me earlier. I kept getting redirects to Patheos. When I searched the Patheos page for Slacktivist, Fred Clark’s page came up, but Patheos wouldn’t let me go to it.

  • cyllan

    The PR guy for a church is pointing what looks to be a gun at the camera. I just want to revel in this horror for a few minutes. PR person. Church. Gun. What the fuck?

  • Vermic

    I look at Swicegood’s profile and all I can think of is that sleazy Futurama dude with boneitis.

  • John

    Nickelback is his favorite band. Nuff said.

  • The_L1985

    I’m not the only one, then?

  • Persia

    It might be a tape recorder but it’s still an extremely…aggressive pose.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    He’s being a Big Macho Action Hero.
    Just like Cameron “Buck” Jenkins.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I was going to link to it, but since the rest of the blog is coming up 404 for me…

    Less than 24 hours ago, someone on this blog compared Canada to Nazi Germany. When pressed with a specific comparison, this was his response:

    I can see a difference of ‘degree’, not a difference of ‘kind’. Are you aware what these mean? I mean that they are only different inasmuch as burning people in ovens is ‘more’ socialist than a state health system. They are not different beasts, they are only different degrees of the same beast and that is socialism.

  • cyllan

    What, what?

    WORDS HAVE MEANING!

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic
  • Rhubarbarian82

    The reason “socialist” is in the party name is precisely because Hitler didn’t want that word to have meaning. From a speech in 1928:

    “We have to strip the terms ‘Nationalism’ and ‘Socialism’ of their previous meaning. Only that man is a nationalist who stands by his people, and only that man is a socialist who stands up for the rights of his people both internally and externally.”

    I thought about replying to the guy yesterday, but he was not worth arguing with.

  • eyelessgame

    I’m wondering how people who argue that Socialism and National Socialists are the same feel about the argument that Christians are the same as Christian Identity.

  • EllieMurasaki

    That presumes having heard of the latter. I suspect most folk have not.

  • eyelessgame

    Fortunately, all knowledge is just a google click away.

  • P J Evans

    They seem to be unclear on what ‘socialism’ is. At a minimum.

  • Susan Paxton

    Yes, because “National Socialism” wasn’t Socialism.

  • Jamoche

    Time Magazine spelled it National “Socialism” back in the 30s.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    I keep telling so many “HITLER WAS A SOCIALIST SOCIALIST SOCIALIST!” types about how the Nazis picked their name, but always to no avail.
    1) In European politics of the time, “Socialism” was linked to labor-union movements. With their social tradition of Absolute Power of Hereditary Aristocracy, European bosses tended to be a LOT more pointy-haired than American bosses, and the resulting labor unions more radical.
    2) Hence “Socialist” in that time and place meant a politician or party who was on the side of the blue-collar workers against the pointy-haired bosses.
    3) Yet most Socialist movements were Internationalist — “Workers of the World” and all that. And the most extreme socialist movement — Communism/Bolshevism — was firmly under the thumb of Russia.
    4) So “National Socialist” not only meant they were on the side of the blue-collar working stiffs, but of specifically GERMAN blue-collar working stiffs. Not some amorphous “Workers of the World” or (even worse) the Russians.

  • Justme

    It was also because of Anton Drexler, one of the founders of the party, had some Socialist economic ideas (while at the same time still being nationalist and racist), and if you look at the original Nazi party platform before Hitler came into the picture, it contains some socialist ideas (full employment for German citizens, abolition of unearned income, confiscation of war profits, nationalization of corporations, an expanded welfare state, land reform and the abolition of rent, universal university education for ethnic Germans, etc.)

    It wasn’t until Hitler took control of the party that he got rid of the party’s “left wing” and dropped most of the economic stuff from the platform.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah. I’m not speaking to them anymore because ARGH, but I really wanna tell them, okay, the dictionary is not precisely a reliable source of nuanced argument, but Jesus fuck open the dictionary to ‘socialism’ before opining on socialism. Wiktionary’s definition is excellent.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam
  • cyllan

    Troll? Uneducated Idiot? Why not have both at once!

  • general_apathy

    At the first sentence, I thought they were discussing the internment of Japanese-Canadians. Second sentence was just… “What? Wait… did they just… whaaat?”

  • Becca Stareyes

    That affirms my belief that to some people ‘socialism’ means ‘things I dislike’. The quote makes much more sense:

    “I mean that they are only different inasmuch as burning people in ovens is ‘more’ [dislikable] than a state health system. They are not different beasts, they are only different degrees of the same beast and that is [things I dislike].”

    Still raises the question about why state health systems are disliked, but that’s an old one.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Say we grant the premise. Insisting on a socialism spectrum that includes both state health systems and genocide doesn’t alter my opinion of either state health systems or genocide. The only takeaway available from insisting on this definition is that some degree of socialism is a very good thing and some much larger degree of socialism is a terrible thing. And since modern history shows us that these two concepts- state health systems and genocide- are eminently severable, we need not sacrifice the former in fear of spurring the latter any more than we need to go bottomless because Hitler wore pants.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    To me, the main intrinsic drawback of Socialism is that as normally implemented, you get a HEAVY bureaucratic overhead to administer all the Socialist programs. Not only does this bureaucracy soak up resources for administrative expenses, the Bureaucrats start protecting themselves, getting more and more goodies for themselves, and end up as New Aristocrats. (This is one factor in what’s currently bankrupting California.)
    A secondary problem is the over-centralization of the “Admin” in the capital. Bureaucracies tend to be Lawful Stupid by nature, and over-centralization results in a concentration of the stupid and a “One Size Fits All” solution. Plus the over-centralization of power makes a coup attempt more workable — knock over the capital and you control all the mechanisms of bureaucratic control over the entire country.

  • PhiloKGB

    Isn’t the economic forecast in California mostly positive? I’m sure I read that recently.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yes, CA is forecasted to have a budget surplus this year. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/us/california-balances-its-budget.html

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    It’s my understanding that Canada found a way to substantially reduce the amount of paperwork that circulates from their medical system. I can’t possibly see how it could be worse than our bureaucracy now. A lot of the paperwork we have to do come tax time is completely and utterly superfluous, since the records exist.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    The big problem with socialism is that it isn’t making any money for the Dolmansaxlil Galactic Shoe Corporation.

    (That is, the only real problem with Socialism is that people expect it to compete with free-market capitalism, on free-market capitalism’s terms, with success measured by free-market capitalism’s metrics. Hence, for example, soclalized medicine is generally considered inefficient. People attribute this to bureacuracy. But, in fact, the reason, eg., Medicare is considered “inefficient” compared to private insurance is that “efficiency” is defined by fiat in such a way that the money spent on actual medical costs doesn’t count: An “efficient” medical system, by the accepted metrics, is one that spends the smallest possible percentage of its money on the patients — because money you spend doing the thing that you are for is a loss compared to money you don’t spend, which is profit.

    Socialism’s “problem” is that it measures success in terms of helping people to live decently, but it’s expected to compete in a world that measures success in terms of helping the rich get richer — any money you spend helping poor people stay alive counts against you on those terms. Socialism is a terrible way to succeed on Wall Street. Sort of the same way that a chainsaw is terrible at performing apendectomies.)

  • FearlessSon

    My understanding of socialism is that it involves the state influence into or over an otherwise free market system, compared with communism in which there is no free market system.

    By that definition, almost no country is without socialism, since almost any state has some influence on its own markets or the markets of others. The issue most people have is over what the nature and degree of that influence is, and what parts of the market it should affect.

  • jimmyfromchicago

    Thank God Horne was sober. The Republican Party base would never forgive him otherwise. I assume they’ll cut him the usual slack on financial improprieties and sexual hypocrisy

  • LoneWolf343

    Nah. He could be drunker than a moonshiner with the ATF knocking on his door, and the GOP wouldn’t have said a peep.

    Now, if another man was blowing him at the time…

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “I was led to the Lord in 1972 by my 5th grade teacher.”

    -Lawrence Swicegood
    Executive Director, Media

  • P J Evans

    Ewww.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    Or just reiterating his Christianese Credentials.

  • SisterCoyote

    Seriously though, why is Andrew Jackson on any of our bills?

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    For the sake of irony.

  • The_L1985

    I’ll give you that one. :)

    Hel, it reminds me of something I thought of at the Seminole Hard Rock. The Seminoles were one of the “5 Civilized Tribes” that were mostly driven to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. I can’t imagine them liking much the fact that those lovely $20 bills they get from tourists and gamblers are emblazoned with the picture of the US president they have the most reason to hate.

  • ReverendRef

    And while we’re at it, let’s get him off the $20 bill, too. Replace him with Harriet Tubman.

    If I got a vote, I’d vote for Sojourner Truth.

    And for you non-Episcopalian types out there, July 20 is the feast day for Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth and Harriet Ross Tubman. That’s a pretty impressive group of women.

    The Collect of the Day reads in part: Give us vision and courage to stand against oppression and injustice and all that works against the glorious liberty to which you call all your children

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Yes. Yes they should.
    They should have a long time ago. Let the Republicans have him — make
    him the player to be named later in the same deal in which they claimed
    Andrew Johnson off of waivers.

    -I concur. Jackson is one of my favorite presidents, and I find it difficult to imagine him, an opponent of the Second Bank of the U.S. and a Tennessee plantation owner, a modern Democrat.

  • Maniraptor

    Yes. Yes, I suppose he would be. What an unpleasant person you must be.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Is there any way Republicans could exchange Lincoln, protectionist and suppressor of free speech extraordinaire, to the Democrats for Grover Cleveland? Or will Lincoln always be with the GOP?

  • Gotchaye

    Pretty sure the Democrats are happy to take Lincoln. Gonna have to fight Rand Paul for him, though.

  • eyelessgame

    Hey, you forgot Lincoln’s other big act – he nationalized more private property than any president before or since. Bet you hate that part too.

  • AnonaMiss

    Also blindingly white.

    (I am also white and there’s nothing wrong with being white; just you have to be able to overlook the humanity of non-white people to find AJ remotely appealing.)

  • AnonaMiss

    Oh wow, and the comment that crossed streams with mine only highlights the point.

    AJ is his favorite president, and he disavows Lincoln.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    One of my favorite presidents. I don’t have a complete ranking.

  • The_L1985

    He did a lot of badass action-hero-ey things, but his policies were horrible. Especially that whole “drive the natives out of AL and MS and dump them all on land in Oklahoma that we don’t like or want” thing.

  • Gotchaye

    Maybe it’s just that I’m from Oklahoma and people there are particularly aware of Jackson, but I had never imagined that there was any real controversy about how gratuitously evil the Indian Removal Act was.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    I have mixed feelings regarding Indian Removal. On one hand, it was a massive violation of property rights. On the other, it prevented inevitable and costly future conflicts with Native Americans.

  • P J Evans

    Including some nations that weren’t planning to fight, but had gold under their land. Which is why Jackson is an SOB.

  • David S.

    That’s a good one. “You’ve firmly expressed your desire to live peacefully on your land, and we have no reason to doubt that, given that we could crush you in a heart beat. but since we’re inevitably going to break our treaties, we’ll force you to move now, to prevent having to abuse you in the future.”

    It’s always amazed me how much trouble was stirred up against peaceful farmers. It’s not hard to peacefully live next to peaceful farmers, but they got no empathy at all.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Remember this, everyone. E.H. just said property rights are the only reason the Indian Removal Act was a problem. Property is important to him. The actual human cost of anything — anything at all — is not. This is neither a rational nor a moral outlook. It is pure dogmatism. And a dogmatism that says that things are important, but people are not.

    Now, can we stop talking to him like there’s a chance he’ll ever be anything other than an utter and complete asshole? The internet’s a great place, because on it, one can actually ignore utter and complete assholes a lot of the time. Just pretend they don’t exist. Then they go away.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    “E.H. just said property rights are the only reason the Indian Removal Act was a problem.”
    -That’s a lie. It is to be remembered that the Indian Removal Act took away Native Americans’ freedoms of movement and association.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    Then you should have said that in the first place.

  • The_L1985

    And killed a whole bloody lot of them. They weren’t exactly ferried over to Oklahoma by people who cared about their well-being.

  • arcseconds

    Are you suggesting that potential future bad effects are a reason for interfering with property rights?

    That practically makes you a socialist, Enopoletus.

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    If you don’t believe in democracy and voting, then the Benton County, Arkansas, Republican Party may be for you: “The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.”

    Reminds me of Fritz Leiber more than Chairman Mao.
    Specifically, the scene early in A Spectre is Haunting Texas where some conspirators are trying to recruit “Skully” (the offworld visitor and main character) for a coup against the current head of state, and they give him this long high-sounding spiel about “the cowardly ballot vs the noble bullet”. (This comes shortly before or after a scene where they introduce Skully to pot, and the pace of Leiber’s writing goes from “bla bla bla” to “bla bla bla — BLAAA BLAAAAAAA BLAAAAAAAAAAAA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….”)
    A Spectre is Haunting Texas is one WEIRD novel.

  • otrame

    My absolute mostest hero ever, Harriet Tubman. She was an absolutely amazing women, especially considering that she was brain damaged and had grande mal seizures on a regular basis. The person I most look up to.

  • JohnFea

    Thanks for the links, Fred!

  • stardreamer42

    Can Stephen Fry actually sing? If not, he’s not a good choice for a 1776 revival no matter how much his speaking voice sounds like Benjamin Franklin. Listen to the original-Broadway-cast version, and then to the more recent one featuring Brent Spiner as John Adams — they were casting for box-office draw rather than for talent, and Spiner was the only major character in the cast who didn’t sound like shit.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    “Favorite Song/Musical Artists: “If Today Was Your Last Day” by Nickleback”

    ’nuff said.

  • FearlessSon

    “The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives.”

    I wonder if the people making this argument realize that applies to a broad spectrum of political beliefs that feel they are being unrepresented. For example, suppose a state tried to outlaw abortion with a heavy-handed crackdown law passed by a gerrymandered legislature against the will of the people who need such services. Would I feel that taking up arms in such a situation is justified? I would lie if I said I did not consider it. People would be suffering due to some ill-considered moral absolutist ideology of a few, and I have an obligation to stand up against such things by whatever means I judge to be necessary and beneficial.

    I am, after all, part of the “culture of death” that thinks infantacide is sometimes preferable to the alternative, why do they think I might not be pushed to inflict violence as readily as they are?

  • Charity Brighton

    Well, almost everyone who thinks this way believes that the guns will all be on their side. They speak in generalities, but that’s the philosophical underpinning behind their “might makes right” POV. You never hear them saying, “boy howdy if the government outlaws gay marriage then they better get ready for a revolution!!”

    It’s kind of like how people in America can support using the law to enforce religion; they know that their religion has a supermajority and is the norm, so the odds that it won’t be the one receiving privileges are low.

  • FearlessSon

    That is what bugs me about it. Do they have no concept of precedent and escalation? They talk about gun ownership as though the second amendment only gave the right to bear arms to members of a particular political party. They may deny it, but there are plenty of political liberals who also happen to be gun owners (though they tend not to be the loudest voices among the gun owning population) and when you shoot at someone, you have to expect them to shoot back.

    If they decide to escalate to violence, what prevents others from matching that violence in turn? Regardless of the moral considerations of employing force, they think that they have a monopoly on that force when they really do not. The primary reason that their opposition has not used it yet is because that is a line that, once crossed, is hard to walk back over. You do not get to go all revolutionary and then expect that no one will challenge the peace immediately afterward.

  • Foelhe

    I was mostly kidding with my post down-thread, but also sort of serious – gun-rights types live in a fantasy world, they consider themselves the good guys, and as far as they’re concerned, good guys always win. It’s not that they don’t think they’ll have to fight. It’d surprise me if they didn’t consider that a perk in fact. But they think fighting will go in their favor, because they think they’re Righteous, Valiant, and True. And of course no one who fits that description ever loses.

    Which is why so many of them get pissy if you ask questions that boil down to, “What if you pull out a gun to protect yourself and only make things worse?” They don’t like the idea that someone can act with the best of intentions and then totally fuck it up.

  • FearlessSon

    Which is why so many of them get pissy if you ask questions that boil down to, “What if you pull out a gun to protect yourself and only make things worse?” They don’t like the idea that someone can act with the best of intentions and then totally fuck it up.

    You know, when Wayne LaPierre says that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” it sounds to me like he is advocating his own assassination. I mean, he is in favor of putting more guns into circulation while he profiteers from fearmongering, that makes him a bad guy, right?

    They make the mistake that their own intentions are shared by everyone else. If we cannot agree on what is “good” how are we going to agree on who we should shoot?

  • reynard61

    “You know, when Wayne LaPierre says that ‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun’, it sounds like he is advocating his own assassination. I mean, he is in favor of putting more guns in circulation while he profits from fearmongering, that makes him a bad guy, right?”

    Yes. Yes it does.

  • FearlessSon

    It’s kind of like how people in America can support using the law to enforce religion; they know that their religion has a supermajority and is the norm, so the odds that it won’t be the one receiving privileges are low.

    On that point, Altemeyer’s studies have revealed something. To sum up, most North Americans (religious or otherwise) said that they would rather public school not try to sponsor sectarian Christian prayer. However, most of the Christian fundamentalists that he polled said that Christian school prayer should be mandatory and encouraged, and minorities should just suck it up because the majority here is Christian, so there. When Altemeyer posed a similar scenario where the situation was the sponsorship of sectarian Muslim school prayer in a primarily Muslim country, the fundamentalist Christians objected, saying it would be unfair to all the minorities in that country to have to participate in a prayer they did not believe in.

    He noted that they were basically unprincipled on the issue, even though they tended to care about it so passionately. It was a big double standard about school prayer. He gave atheists the same poll and found that they opposed school prayer in all cases, but also strongly tended opposed schools endorsing an atheistic viewpoint as well (though atheists from the U.S. tended to more strongly favor this this than atheists from Canada.) Altemeyer noted the irony of atheists being more strongly principled on the subject of school prayer than school prayer’s actual proponents were.

  • Foelhe

    No worries, taking a level of Gun Owner gives you a free feat that lets you detect criminals, and being of Good alignment gives you a bonus to your attack rolls with ranged weapons. That’s why good people always win in shootouts with bad people. I am almost certain this is how guns work.

  • EllieMurasaki

    *dies*

  • Trixie_Belden

    You know, I think that Stephen Fry is generally a pretty interesting person, and I like QI, but I found during that interview, that he really came across as a very wealthy, privileged person lecturing other people for not pulling up their socks and being as awesome as he thinks they should be (maybe as he thinks he is?). People have pain, they get tired, they have things they can’t handle. Maybe they work at dull jobs they don’t like because the world can be very hard on people who try to do daring things but don’t succeed. Frankly, he sounded like a bit of a prat. I wasn’t surprised to read in the comments that he’s a bit of a libertarian.

  • Lori

    Well that’s disappointing.

  • arcseconds

    I’ve only seen (I think) the first season of QI, and while I generally like it, there are a few moments where Fry gives some rather bizarre and apparently serious lecturettes.

    In one he gives the whole ‘Jesus = Mithras’ canard, and in the other I remember he points out that castration adds several years to one’s life-expectancy, apparently as a talking-point to argue in favour of smoking.

    I mean, I can kind of see where he’s going with the last one, and I do have a modicum of sympathy for the idea that in the (needed) deprecation of smoking we’ve veered too far in the direction of demonizing it, but it was rather odd, and the way he delivered both these little sermons was dreadfully patronizing.

  • Trixie_Belden

    I watched episodes from several seasons on youtube and IMO the show got better as it went along. I don’t even watch it just for Fry: I love Alan Davies some of the other comedians he has on as guests.

  • arcseconds

    Well, as I said, I generally like the show. It’s just that while Fry is obviously a smart man (there are plenty of reasons to think this apart from the set up of the show), and is probably nice enough, you do get glimpses that he has his own odd little hobby-horses where he’s quite sure he’s right and you need to be educated.

    he’s kind of like everyone’s well-read but eccentric great-uncle!

  • Maniraptor

    He pretty much always sounds like that. I think he means more or less well but he’s got privilege like whoa. (Yeah, he’s rather famously not straight, but it doesn’t seem to have granted him a lot of empathy along any other axis.)

    grumble grumble and QI is very poorly fact-checked but everybody thinks he’s a genius now grumble

  • arcseconds

    haha, now, this will amuse you.

    One of the classic experimental proofs of the existence of the fundamental attribution error (where we attribute what’s going on to inner qualities of the actors, rather than to external factors happening right now, for example saying someone’s giving to a beggar because they’re kind, and not because their friends are there and they want to look kind) is a quiz setup.

    Two random people are put in a room and put in a quiz scenario, where one of them gets to be the quizmaster. The quizmaster gets to ask whatever questions they like, so obviously they’re going to pick ones they know the answers to.

    The subject of the experiment is actually people watching the quiz, and they’ll usually say that the quizmaster is the smartest, even though they know the set-up, and they can see that the quimaster has a huge advantage.

    And that’s pretty much QI! And that’s pretty much what’s happened to Stephen Fry!

    (except of course presumably he has a bunch of people finding out stuff for him, which gives him even more of an advantage.)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    ISTR from psychology class that americans frequently rank Alex Trebec and Dan Rather as two of the smartest people in the world.

  • Charity Brighton

    I guess it’s like typecasting. The ‘quizmaster’ knows all of the answers already, and they get to look confident, knowledgeable, and almost teacher-like as they correct the wrong answers given by the other person.

    I think if you put any random person in a nice outfit and give them a position where they get to speak confidently and knowledgeably about something they have a deep interest in, they are probably going to seem smart.

  • Trixie_Belden

    grumble grumble and QI is very poorly fact-checked but everybody thinks he’s a genius now grumble

    Really? That’s interesting! The show has such an overbearing attitude about its own correctness that I would have thought there’d be a whole bunch of people eager to burst the bubble, so to speak, and you’d hear a lot about the errors on QI. Maybe we don’t hear so much about the errors on this side of the pond.

  • arcseconds

    At some points, at least, they seem to deliberately be distorting things a bit to get a counter-intuitive answer.

    Take Cruithne, for example. Astronomers don’t call it a moon, as far as I’m aware. It orbits the Sun, not the Earth.

    But QI decided they would, just so they could klaxon the obvious ‘one’ answer.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    It is a really bad sign when your high-priced corporate PR fixer thinks it’s a brilliant idea for his profile picture to be of him pointing a gun at the viewer.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X