In the off-chance that you haven't had an occasion to bust your gut over Jeff Dunham's ventriloquy, check this out.
Mockery and derision are important weapons in the culture war. It is not enough to argue rigorously and patiently against the liberal-left enablers and apologists of radical Islam. Also needed is to make them and their clients look stupid. The young are more impressed by the cool than the cogent.
What the hell's going on in Florida? The other day an oven shot a woman, and now a dog has shot a man, with an 'unloaded' gun no less.
Tragedies like these show the need for Dog Control. Members of the Dog Lobby such as Duane LaRufus of the National Hound Association will scream in protest, but moral cretins like him and Leroy Pooch of Dog Owners of America are nothing but greedy shills for the Canine Industrial Complex. They routinely oppose all sensible Dog Control measures. Follow the money!
Reason dictates that all dogs must be kept muzzled at all times, and when transported in a vehicle containing a gun, must be kept securely locked in the trunk. Assault dogs, whose only purpose is to kill and maim, such as Doberman Ass Biters and Pit Bulls, must be banned. Such breeds are inherently evil and no one ouside of law enforcement and the military has any business owning them. Food magazines for all breeds must be kept strictly limited lest any dog become too rambunctious. Dog owners should be 'outed' and their names published in the paper. Special taxes must be levied on all things canine to offset the expenses incurred by society at large in the wake of the rising tide of dog violence.
Such reasonable measures will strike extremists as draconian, but if even one life can be saved, then they are justified. We must do something and we must do it now so that tragedies like the one in Florida never happen again.
Here: "POLICE chiefs have banned IT staff from using the word blacklist over fears it is RACIST." (Via VFR)
This sort of thing is insane, of course. And so I suspect that to argue against it is foolish: it only lends credibility to a view that ought to be mocked and derided.
But I do argue it out here. One late-night comic lampooned the 'crispy critter' tanning lady (who brought her child into the tanning booth with her) by saying that the she is so dark it's racist! That's the way to go. You PeeCee liberals are so stupid it's racist! What is the antecedent of the last two occurrences of 'it'? Don't worry, we be in PeeCee land now. We don't need to talk no sense.
Cosmologists are going to have to be careful what with their talk of black holes. Someone might take that as 'code' for 'black ho' a phrase that in PeeCee logic (and no, I'm not talking about the propositional calculus) implies that all black females are whores.
Modernist to medievalist: Medieval philosophy is substance abuse!
Medievalist to modernist: Modern philosophy is self abuse!
(And that reminds me of a marginalium Schopenhauer inscribed into his copy of Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre: Onanie! (onanism) Wissenschaftslehre translates as Theory of Science. Schopenhauer, however, referred in print to Fichte's book as Wissenschaftsleere, which sounds the same but translates as Empty of Science.
If Schopenhauer had a blog, what might he call it? The Scowl of Minerva.)
Man attempts to enter swanky restaurant. Maitre d' informs him that coat and tie are required. Man returns to car, dons coat, and tries once more to enter. Maitre d' says that a tie is also necessary. Man returns to car, opens trunk, takes out jumper cables, and arranges them around his neck. Heated discussion ensues, but maitre d' finally relents: "OK, you can go in, but just don't start anything!"
I remember exactly when and where I heard this joke. It was June of 1995. I was headed from Phoenix to Charlottesville to take part in an NEH Summer Seminar on the Philosophy of Science at the University of Virginia. As I was 'motorvatin'* in my '88 Jeep Cherokee past Knoxville, Tennessee on Interstate 40, old Paul Harvey (1918-2009) came on the air and told the above joke.
Now you know the rest of the story.
*'Motorvatin' borrowed from Chuck Berry's Maybelline.
"Study everything, join nothing." I am sometimes asked for examples. Here are some from Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary under the entry Regalia. (Borrowed from Gilleland the Erudite):
. . . Knights of Adam; Visionaries of Detectable Bosh; the Ancient Order of Modern Troglodytes; the League of Holy Humbug; the Golden Phalanx of Phalangers; the Genteel Society of Expurgated Hoodlums; the Mystic Alliances of Gorgeous Regalians; Knights and Ladies of the Yellow Dog; the Oriental Order of Sons of the West; the Blatherhood of Insufferable Stuff; Warriors of the Long Bow; Guardians of the Great Horn Spoon; the Band of Brutes; the Impenitent Order of Wife-Beaters; the Sublime Legion of Flamboyant Conspicuants; Worshipers at the Electroplated Shrine; Shining Inaccessibles; Fee-Faw-Fummers of the Inimitable Grip; Jannissaries of the Broad-Blown Peacock; Plumed Increscencies of the Magic Temple; the Grand Cabal of Able-Bodied Sedentarians; Associated Deities of the Butter Trade; the Garden of Galoots; the Affectionate Fraternity of Men Similarly Warted; the Flashing Astonishers; Ladies of Horror; Cooperative Association for Breaking into the Spotlight; Dukes of Eden; Disciples Militant of the Hidden Faith; Knights-Champions of the Domestic Dog; the Holy Gregarians; the Resolute Optimists; the Ancient Sodality of Inhospitable Hogs; Associated Sovereigns of Mendacity; Dukes-Guardian of the Mystic Cess-Pool; the Society for Prevention of Prevalence; Kings of Drink; Polite Federation of Gents-Consequential; the Mysterious Order of the Undecipherable Scroll; Uniformed Rank of Lousy Cats; Monarchs of Worth and Hunger; Sons of the South Star; Prelates of the Tub-and-Sword.
Jean-Paul Sartre put the following into the mouth of a character in the play, No Exit: "Hell is other people." What then would hell be for philosophers? To be locked in a room forever with a philosopher with whom one has little or no common ground. David Stove and Theodor Adorno, for example. Or Sartre and Etienne Gilson.
Here are my two favorite examples of telephonic foolishness.
1. Leaving a message on the wrong answering machine. This has happened more than once. One time, a guy calls and hears our message: "This is Bill and Mary. We are either unable or unwilling to come to the phone at this time. Please leave a message after the beep."
So he proceeds, "Hi Jack, this is Clyde. I'm down at the Glass Crutch bar and grill and plan to stay until closing time. Why not come down and join me? We'll hoist a few."
2. Failure to grasp the concept of a wrong number. A guy calls asking for Dave. "No Dave here," I reply, "you must have the wrong number." Guy calls again an hour or two later, asking for Dave, and I give the same response. The pattern repeats itself several times over a few days. Concluding that the caller's contact with reality is minimal and drug-mediated, I finally say, "Hey man, haven't you heard? Dave OD'd on smack about a month ago." Caller: "Wow, far out!"
I spied a composite of the above two images on the rear window of a beat-to-hell pickup truck. The decal depicted the character Grumpy of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves brandishing guns in the manner of that Yosemite Sam character one sometimes sees on mud flaps with the logo, "Back off." Can I squeeze any logico-philosophical mileage out of this? But of course.
The multiple ambiguity of 'is' has been well-known to philosophers for some time, although it is only recently that an American president has put the ambiguity to work in a successful bid at saving his political hide. Said president pointed out that much rides on what the meaning of 'is' is. A key distinction is between the 'is' of identity and the 'is' of predication. The decal exploits this ambiguity to achieve its humorous effect. 'I am Grumpy' asserts the identity of the speaker with Grumpy, whereas 'I am grumpy' predicates a property of the speaker, the property of being grumpy. A key difference between identity and predication is that the former is symmetrical whereas the latter is aysmmetrical.
(Please do not confuse asymmetry with nonsymmetry. Loves is a nonsymmetrical relation: if I love you it does not follow that you love me; but it also does not follow that you do not love me.)
In previous posts I have explored the idea that many cases of humor derive from logico-conceptual incoherence, as above. The equivocation on 'is,' as between its predicative and identitarian senses, is at the root of the decal's funniness. That is why it is funny. Or so I claim. In fact, I toy with the notion that most humor stems from logico-conceptual incoherence. Another example is Yogi Berra's "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Or: "Who was that lady I saw you with last night? That was no lady, that was my wife!" Or: "I see you got a haircut. I got 'em all cut."
The decal also alludes to a Platonic theme, that of the self-predication of Forms. Forms are not properties but paradigms. Thus the Form Wisdom is the paradigm case of wisdom. As such, Wisdom is wise, The Good is good, Virtue is virtuous -- and The Grumpy is grumpy! (Assuming, as Plato would almost certainly not assume, that there is a Form corresponding to 'grumpy.') Thus grumpy things are grumpy in virtue of participating in The Grumpy which is grumpy in virtue of participating in itself.
A self-participating Form is (identically) what it has. Here the 'is' of identity and the 'is' of predication coalesce. Wisdom is wise in virtue of being identical with itself. God is not a good thing, but Goodness Itself; thus God is not good by having goodness but by being Goodness. Here we glimpse the connection between the self-participation of Forms and the doctrine of the divine simplicity.
And all of this squeezed out of one lousy decal on the rear window of a beat-to-hell pickup truck probably owned by some illegal alien.
I'm sensitive, you're touchy. I'm firm, you are pigheaded. Frugality in me is cheapness in you. I am open-minded, you are empty-headed. I am careful, you are obsessive. I am courageous while you are as reckless as a Kennedy. I am polite while you are obsequious. My speech is soothing, yours is unctuous. I am earthy and brimming with vitality while you are crude and bestial. I'm alive to necessary distinctions; you are a bloody hairsplitter. I'm conservative, you're reactionary. I know the human heart, but you are a misanthrope. I love and honor my wife while you are uxorious. I am focused; you are monomaniacal.
In me there is commitment, in you fanaticism. I'm a peacemaker, you're an appeaser. I'm spontaneous, you're just undisciplined. I'm neat and clean; you are fastidious. In me there is wit and style, in you mere preciosity. I know the value of a dollar while you are just a miser. I cross the Rubicons of life with resoluteness while you are a fool who burns his bridges behind him. I do not hide my masculinity, but you flaunt yours. I save, you hoard. I am reserved, you are shy.
I have a hearty appetite; you are a glutton. A civilized man, I enjoy an occasional drink; you, however, must teetotal to avoid becoming a drunkard. I'm witty and urbane, you are precious. I am bucolic, you are rustic. I'm original, you are idiosyncratic.
And those are just some of the differences between me and you.
Among the jokes classified by Ted Cohen as hermetic in Jokes: Philosophical Thoughts on Joking Matters (University of Chicago Press, 1999) are the following that he classifies as strongly hermetic: What did Lesniewski say to Lukasiewicz? "Logically, we're poles apart."
What is a goy? A goy is a person who is a girl if examined at any time up to an including t, and a boy if examined at any time after t.
One day a paleographer came into his classics department in great excitement. "There has been an earth-shaking discovery," he anounced. "The Illiad and the Odyssey were not written by Homer, but by some other Greek with the same name."
If you got those, then try this severely hermetic one on for size:
What's round and purple, and commutes to work? An Abelian grape.
These three also fall under the hermetic rubric, though they are not especially so:
According to Freud, what comes between fear and sex? Fuenf.
A young Catholic woman told her friend, "I told my husband to buy all the Viagra he can find." Her Jewish friend replied, "I told my husband to buy all the stock in Pfizer he can find."
After knowing one another for a long time, three clergymen -- one Catholic, one Jewish, and one Episcopalian -- have become good friends. When they are together one day, the Catholic priest is in a sober, reflective mood, and he says, "I'd like to confess to you that although I have done my best to keep my faith, I have occasionally lapsed, and even since my seminary days I have, not often, but sometimes, succumbed and sought carnal knowledge." "Ah well," says the rabbi, "It is good to admit these things, and so I will tell you that, not often, but sometimes, I break the dietary laws and eat forbidden food." At this the Episcopalian priest, his face reddening, says, "If only I has so little to be ashamed of. You know, only last week I caught myself eating a main course with my salad fork."
The symmetrical linker links to every site that links to him. The asymmetrical linker links to no site that links to him. The nonsymmetrical linker may or may not link to a site that links to him.
The totally reflexive linker links to all and only those sites that are identical to his site. The totally reflexive linker is also known as a windowless monad. All his links are internal or on-site. The partially reflexive linker links to himself, but only on condition that some other site links to him. The irreflexive linker links to no site that is identical to his site. All of his links are external or off-site. The transitive linker links to every site that is the target of a link of every site to which he links, and to every site that is the target of the target of every site to which he links, and so on. That way lies madness.
The moderate cyber-onanist is a person with two or more sites all of which are weakly interlinked, where two or more sites are weakly interlinked if and only if each site is symmetrically linked to one of the others. The extreme cyber-onanist is a person with two or more sites, all of which are strongly interlinked, where two or more sites are strongly interlinked if and only if each site is symmetrically linked to each of the others. The solipsistic cyber-onanist is a cyber-onanist (whether extreme or moderate) all of whose links are internal. The incorrigible cyber-onanist is an extreme solipsistic cyber-onanist.
Things are really getting bad here in the fascist state of Arizona. Why just this morning I was forced to show ID when I went to vote. I strolled into the polling place looking a fright after several hours of hiking. I introduced myself as 'King Blog' but that cut no ice with the old ladies who manned the place. They asked to see my driver's license! What chutzpah! What bigotry! A bunch of damned Nazis, if you want my opinion. What if I forgot it, or never had one? Then the Nazi bastards would have disenfranchised me! The very act of requesting ID is an act of disenfrachisement and intimidation. Besides, it prevents me from voting twice, which I have the right to do. I should have adapted a line from B. Traven's The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Papers? I don't need no stinkin' papers! I'm a human being. You just hate me because I smell like I spent the night under a bridge. I have the right to do whatever I want, wherever I want, and vote wherever I want and as many times as I want.
I'm gettin' the hell out of this rattlesnake infested inferno of gun-totin' yahoos, rednecked racists, and xenophobic immigrant-bashers. I'm going where a man can be free. I'm headed for the People's Republic of China. "Live free or die," as I always say.
* Thales of Miletus: View from the Bottom of a Well * Anaximander of Miletus: Indeterminate Musings * Anaximenes of Miletus: Just Another Airhead Gassing Off * Xenophanes of Colophon: Tales of Wickedness in High Places * Heraclitus of Ephesus: The Upload and the Download are the Same.
Malaysia, Iran and Turkey plan to build an "Islamic car" fitted with a compass to find the direction of Mecca, and a compartment to keep the Koran in, the Malaysian state news agency said.
This invites parody.
Islamic Car, Turkish kismet model: Very economical inasmuch as it is devoid of all safety features. Reflects the popular belief that "when your number is up, your number is up." But the Nazar Boncuk comes standard.
Buddhist car: This amphibious vehicle is specially equipped to transport its passengers across the river of Samsara.
Mahayana model: This Buddhist SUV is known as the "Greater Vehicle" because of its superior cargo capacity.
Hinayana model: This Buddhist subcompact, popularly known as the "Lesser Vehicle," conducts to the same ultimate destination as the Greater Vehicle but with greater fuel economy.
Hezbollah Hummer: Specially designed to explode upon impact.
Luther's Lemon: The attempt to power this baby on faith alone (sola fide) resulted in a vehicle that works not.
Commie Car: Designed for "people not profits," this unreliable contraption delivers neither.
Catholic car: This vehicle features an onboard navigation system premised on the truth that "all roads lead to Rome."
Mao's Maserati: This sports car, produced by slave labor under the watchful eye of Italian designers, is available only to high Party officials. It makes a "great leap forward" in under ten seconds.
Gorbachev's Covertible: This vehicle featured plenty of glasnost, but like the Edsel, was soon out of production.
The Mormon Machine: Features a special jump seat for spare wives, but the beverage holders are conspicuous by their absence.
The Race Car: A liberal favorite, the Race Car conducts one to a racial destination no matter what the starting point.
The Bright Car: Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and their fellow 'brights' drive these. They exhibit a marvelous design that came about through the marvel of blind engineering.
I have never thought much of that overgrown adolescent, George Carlin. But this is a brilliant and hilarious performance which serves as a useful corrective to environmental extremism and nature idolatry. (Hat tip: The blogging biker.)
Apply the Reppert Criteria: "There are two tests that I use to determine if a definition of religion is adequate. It has to include Buddhism. And it has to exclude the Dallas Cowboys." (See comment thread to this post.)
It used to be said that to the English had been given the realm of the sea, to the French the domain of the land, and to the Germans the kingdom of the air; this meant of course the stratosphere, where philosophers are supposed to live, and indeed have been living ever since Thales wandered abroad with his head in the clouds and fell into a well.
Philosophy today gets no respect. Many scientists use the term as a synonym for effete speculation. When my colleague Ned Block told his father that he would major in the subject, his father's reply was "Luft!" — Yiddish for "air." And then there's the joke in which a young man told his mother that he would become a Doctor of Philosophy and she said, "Wonderful! But what kind of disease is philosophy?"
Well, to adapt a chess player's expression, better to make Luft than to make war! (One 'makes Luft' in chess by moving a pawn in front of the castled king's position as prophylaxis against back rank mate.)
As for 'Doctor of Philosophy,' 'doctor,' etymologically, means teacher (from L. docere, to teach) and 'philosophy' stands in for knowledge or science broadly construed. Thus as late as the 19th century, physicists were still referred to as natural philosophers. 'Ph.D.,' of course, abbreviates Doctor of Philosophy, which is why it is an abomination to see it written as 'PHD.' And when a Ph.D does it it is doubly abominable. But then I'm a linguistic conservative, as well as every other kind of conservative.
In fairness to Pinker, I should point out that after citing the above anecdotes he goes on to say some words in defense of philosophy
A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why," they asked. "Because", he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."
Here. For example, Rescher died of incoherence while Spinoza died of substance abuse. Miguel de Unamuno expired from a tragic loss of sense. Plantinga perished of necessity, and Augustine by a Hippo. As you can see, some are nasty and one needn't be dead to have a cause of death assigned. Last I checked, Professor Rescher was still happily scribbling away. And that reminds me of a joke.
A student goes to visit Professor Rescher. Secretary informs her that the good doctor is not available because he is writing a book. Student replies, "I'll wait."