[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Saturday, 2018-06-30

Not all complaints are valid

Filed under: Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:16

There are legitimate complaints to be made, and there are genuinely bad people who are the reason for those complaints. But as anyone who has worked in customer service knows, not every complaint is reasonable. Many — perhaps even most, it sometimes seems — are not.

If you need to go 100-200 years back to explain why something is “bad”, it’s not bad — you are just fishing for things to be unhappy about. Focus on what’s bad now. Robber barons, for example, are bad — and you don’t need a history lesson on the origin of the phrase “robber baron” to explain why. Private prisons and the racist impact of Drug Prohibition are both bad — and you don’t need a history lesson on workhouses or the Atlantic slave trade to explain why.

History can provide background to what is bad now. It’s really good for that. What history does not do is make something bad now merely because of events that took place before any of our grandparents were born.

Wednesday, 2018-05-16

Definition of “incel”

Filed under: Philosophy,Society,Writing — bblackmoor @ 08:59

[in-sel]
noun

  1. Someone whose behaviour is so repugnant that not one of the approximately seven billion humans on Earth will have sex with them.
  2. Someone who blames others for their mental and social shortcomings.
     
    “Yesterday Ryan wrote a Facebook post calling himself an ‘incel’. He claims that all women are shallow and exist to torture men by ‘denying’ them sex.”

Origin and etymology of incel

blend of involuntary and celibate

First Known Use: 1997

Monday, 2018-05-14

Let’s say you reduced Earth’s human population by half

Filed under: Philosophy,Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 12:38

Fun fact! The Earth’s human population has doubled since 1971. So if, hypothetically, someone were to snap their fingers and kill half of the Earth’s population, they would set our inevitable self-destruction back by less than two generations. Hardly seems worth it, really.

population growth chart

Sunday, 2018-05-06

Theodore Roosevelt on the cowardice of cynicism and the courage to create

Filed under: History,Philosophy — bblackmoor @ 09:19

This week’s “Brain Pickings” features a 1910 speech by Theodore Roosevelt, admonishing people to do something, rather than merely criticize what others do.

“The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt.”

Fun fact! (And somewhat relevant due to yesterday being Cinco de Mayo, celebrating when Mexico helped the United States win the American Civil War). When Roosevelt gave this speech in 1910, there were no border controls between the USA and Mexico. There was no such thing as a Mexican “illegal immigrant” in the USA until the 1920s, when white supremacists in the USA starting imposing quotas on immigrants based on their country of origin. (There were earlier laws regarding immigration, but these did not actually prevent anyone from Mexico from coming to the USA freely. Earlier laws mainly focused on Chinese immigrants, and on preventing the importation of “contract labor”, which is to say, slaves in all but name.)

Theodore Roosevelt

Fun fact! Increased “security” at the USA-Mexico border in the early 1900s had the perverse effect of increasing the number of permanent Mexican residents in the USA, because it made it more difficult for them to go back home once they got here.

Wednesday, 2018-04-04

Two different perspectives on what “progress” means

Filed under: Philosophy,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:14

Psychologist Valerie Tarico has written a very interesting article, “Political Narrative II: Why Some Progressives Are Tearing Each Other Apart“. I have said, many times (and sadly, I think I will have many opportunities to say it again), clinging to past grievances — no matter how valid they are — is not the way to make a better future. At some point, you must put the past behind you, if you want to move beyond it. We need to focus on making tomorrow better than today. Not perfect: perfection is not an option, and we will never make any progress if we insist on that. Just make tomorrow better than today.

As an aside, this also provides me with an insight into some of my more conservative friends. I see them making comments (often defensive comments, as though they’ve been attacked) about “liberals”, but those comments seem to come out of nowhere. It’s because those defensive comments aren’t aimed at me, or people like me — they are aimed at what this article calls the Structural Oppression group.

I look forward to the day when one’s skin colour, facial features, and sex are as easily changed as hair length and hair colour are now — and are finally treated as the superficial traits they are.

Monday, 2018-04-02

Pleasant places to retire

Filed under: Fine Living,Retirement — bblackmoor @ 12:54

Pondering “pleasant” places to retire, and stumbled across Kelly Norton’s “most ‘pleasant’ days in a year” post. Rather surprised that southern Louisiana rates as highly as it does, by this criteria. Saddened, but not surprised, that New Hampshire rates so low. I wish I could enter my own criteria. I don’t mind precipitation, for example.

Southern Louisiana does look pretty good, except during the summer, when it’s uninhabitable. And of course southern California is a climatological paradise, but I don’t want to move back to California. Portland, OR is in the ballpark of Charlottesville, VA, but their “pleasant days” are spread evenly from May to October, while ours peak pretty sharply in May and September.

Susan suggested we might become migratory, traveling between North and South as the season change. Maintaining two residences seems like such a massive waste of resources, though.

Cuenca, Ecuador keeps looking attractive. Real estate and the cost of living are both affordable. … Or maybe not. Realistically, it’s unlikely we will move away from the USA.

Friday, 2018-03-23

Sugar Coated (2015)

Filed under: Food,Society — bblackmoor @ 15:23

Watching a documentary about sugar, called “Sugar Coated” (2015). Briefly, obesity has doubled in the past 30 years, and diabetes has tripled, and it’s because sugar is in literally everything and we eat way too much of it. We eat twice as much processed food, and at least twice as much sugar, as we did 30 years ago. And make no mistake: our sugar consumption 30 years ago was enormous, compared to 30 years before that. It was already far too much sugar.

The people who made the video keep saying that this is a controversial issue.

How is this controversial? It’s obvious. Look at the ingredients in spaghetti sauce, hot dogs, barbecue sauce, ketchup, cereal, pizza sauce, even bread. Bread! Have you seen the cereal aisle at the grocery store? It’s literally boxes of candy. Grocery stores have become candy stores — and that’s not even touching on actual candy and cakes, of which we consume vast quantities.

We are a stupid, stupid species.

This is worth watching, too.

Thursday, 2018-03-22

You are what you do

Filed under: Firearms,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:32

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.

For example, if you are vocal in your defense of the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny, but you also voted for, and continue to support, a vulgar habitual liar who has expressed nothing but contempt for the US Constitution and the limits of his legitimate authority, it is clear what you do when confronted with tyranny, and you did it without using a firearm: you support it. You even buy the hat.

Friday, 2018-03-16

So about those first and second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution…

Filed under: Civil Rights,Philosophy,Politics,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:21

At the risk of pouring gasoline on a bonfire, I think we have erred by making the Constitution part of our national religion. People shout out the numbers of Amendments like they are magic spells to ward off evil.

The Constitution is not holy text carved into tablets by a god. The rules our government operates under were written by people who thought they were a good idea at the time, just like all of our other laws. And just like all of our other laws, what people actually intended is subject to debate, how they will be implemented is subject to the discretion of later generations, and they can and should be changed when later generations decide that’s a good idea at the time.

It wasn’t that long ago that oral sex was illegal in Virginia. Just because someone wrote it down and people voted on it, doesn’t necessarily make it wise or right or even reasonable.

They’re just rules. Rules can be changed.

Wednesday, 2018-02-28

Dragons can be killed

Filed under: Art,Books,Philosophy,Society — bblackmoor @ 16:20

I ran across this quote today (not for the first time). It occurs to me that our fairy tales might have changed, but the lesson is still the same.

“Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon. Exactly what the fairy tale does is this: it accustoms him for a series of clear pictures to the idea that these limitless terrors had a limit, that these shapeless enemies have enemies in the knights of God, that there is something in the universe more mystical than darkness, and stronger than strong fear.”
— G.K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles (1909), XVII: “The Red Angel”

Sweet Halloween Dreams (begemott)

P.S. This is often mis-quoted as something like, “Fairy tales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed.” It’s succinct, and it’s true, but that’s not the quotation. I care about things like that. You might not.

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