all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

25 March, 2021

A Literary Precedent for Greens’ Feelings

Senseless Sensibility

Jane Austen’s Sense and

Sensibility* provides
The Greens with their text:

Marianne Dashwood’s

conjecture of one moment

is belief the next.

For fine-feeling folk,

to wish is to hope and to

hope is to expect,


feeling; for reason feeling

reason to reject.
* In Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (Ch. IV), Elinor “knew that what Marianne and her mother conjectured one moment they believed the next—that with them, to wish was to hope, and to hope was to expect.”

15 May, 2019

Not Inheriting the Kingdom of God

Hon. Bill Shorten, Australia’s Federal Opposition Leader, has declared, “I actually think that the meanest commentary that I’ve seen in this election is actually the proposition that gay people are going to go to hell.”
Mr. Shorten claims to be Christian. Does he or does he not accept as scripturally-established doctrine the statement of St. Paul to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 that among the unrighteous who, if unrepentant, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God are effeminate men and those men who bed men?
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The two words translated as “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind” in the KJV (μαλακοὶ and ἀρσενοκοῖται) may be translated into modern English as “pansies” and “arse-bandits”. The Vulgate’s translation of ἀρσενοκοῖται, masculorum concubitores, in English is “[male] bedmates of men”.
Koine Greek: οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται οὔτε κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν.

Vulgate: An nescitis quia iniqui regnum Dei non possidebunt? Nolite errare: neque fornicarii, neque idolis servientes, neque adulteri, neque molles, neque masculorum concubitores, neque fures, neque avari, neque ebriosi, neque maledici, neque rapaces regnum Dei possidebunt.
By the way, why do those who denounce the proposition that men who bed men might go to Hell not also condemn the proposition that unrepentant fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, coveters, drunkards, defamers and graspers are similarly hell-bound?

19 March, 2019

Rosebery Film Festival

I have been rather busy in recent times on various tasks such as, after my relocation to Rosebery, organising the Rosebery Film Festival and its 48-Hour Challenge.

31 October, 2017

Unbanning a Ban

From Bloomberg comes “Trump’s Ban on Transgender Soldiers Is Blocked by U.S. Judge” by Erik Larson:
A U.S. judge temporarily blocked President Donald Trump’s promised ban on transgender Americans serving in the armed forces, ruling that an earlier policy of inclusion must remain in effect.
The ban, due to be implemented in March 2018, is a form [of] discrimination based on gender and is already causing harm to personnel, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington said in a ruling Monday.  […]
Citing threats to troop readiness and morale, as well as costs associated with transgender medical services, Trump in July said in a series of tweets that he would reverse former President Barack Obama’s policy allowing transgender soldiers to serve.  The suit by the National Center for Lesbian Rights claims the plan violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution.
The injunction means Trump’s policy cannot be implemented while the case is litigated. No trial date has been set.  In her ruling, Kollar-Kotelly said she was required to apply a greater degree of scrutiny to the government’s plan because it impacts a class of Americans that has lacked political power.
“As a class, transgender individuals have suffered, and continue to suffer, severe persecution and discrimination,” the judge wrote.  “Despite this discrimination, the court is aware of no argument or evidence suggesting that being transgender in any way limits one’s ability to contribute to society.”
Ignoring the obvious point that a person who is severely physically or mentally disabled might be definitely unfit for any military service but still able to “contribute to society” (and despite the fact that not all discrimination is necessarily evil), let us apply a little reductio by exchanging one fashionable delusion accepted (seemingly uncritically) by the judge—that men who insist they are women and women who avow they are men, despite contrary biological evidence, are sane—with other forms of delusion:
“As a class, people who think they’re pet poodles, or have a firm belief that they’re garden walls, or possess deep certitude that they are intelligent vapours visiting Earth across the vast expanse of time and space from some settlement within the constellation which we call the Pleiades, have suffered, and continue to suffer, severe persecution and discrimination,” the judge might explain.  “Despite this discrimination, the court is aware of no argument or evidence suggesting that allegedly being a dog or an inanimate structure or an alien emission in any way limits one’s ability to contribute to society, therefore I demand that such people must not only be allowed to enrol (or, if already enrolled, stay) in our military forces but thenceforth our military forces must bear the inconveniences, and the taxpayers must foot the bill, for any subsequent special treatment that the supposed canines, constructions or gases may require or demand.”

10 October, 2017

Tony Abbott’s Address on AGW

Hon. Tony Abbott, in an address to the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London, said (inter alia):
Since the Global Financial Crisis, at least in the West, growth has been slow, wages stagnant, opportunities limited, and economic and cultural disruption unprecedented.  Within countries and between them, old pecking orders are changing.  Civilizational self-doubt is everywhere; we believe in everyone but ourselves; and everything is taken seriously except that which used to be.
Just a few years ago, history was supposed to have ended in the triumph of the Western liberal order.  Yet far from becoming universal, Western values are less and less accepted even in the West itself.  We still more or less accept that every human being is born with innate dignity; with rights, certainly, but we’re less sure about the corresponding duties.
We still accept the golden rule of human conduct: to treat others as we would have them treat us—or to use the Gospel formula to “love your neighbour as you love yourself”—but we’re running on empty.
In Britain and Australia, scarcely 50% describe themselves as Christian, down from 90% a generation back.  For decades, we’ve been losing our religious faith but we’re fast losing our religious knowledge too.  We’re less a post-Christian society than a non-Christian, or even an anti-Christian one.  It hasn’t left us less susceptible to dogma, though, because we still need things to believe in and causes to fight for; it’s just that believers can now be found for almost anything and everything.
Climate change is by no means the sole or even the most significant symptom of the changing interests and values of the West.  Still, only societies with high levels of cultural amnesia—that have forgotten the scriptures about man created “in the image and likeness of God” and charged with “subduing the earth and all its creatures”—could have made such a religion out of it.
There’s no certain way to regain cultural self-confidence.  The heart of any recovery, though, has to be an honest facing of facts and an insistence upon intellectual rigour.  […]
Beware the pronouncement, “the science is settled”.  It’s the spirit of the Inquisition, the thought-police down the ages.  Almost as bad is the claim that “99% of scientists believe” as if scientific truth 
[were] determined by votes rather than facts.
There are laws of physics; there are objective facts; there are moral and ethical truths.  But there is almost nothing important where no further enquiry is needed.  What the “science is settled” brigade want is to close down investigation by equating questioning with superstition.  It’s an aspect of the wider weakening of the Western mind which poses such dangers to the world’s future.  
Contrary to the breathless assertions that climate change is behind every weather event, in Australia, the floods are not bigger, the bushfires are not worse, the droughts are not deeper or longer, and the cyclones are not more severe than they were in the 1800s.  Sometimes, they do more damage but that’s because there’s more to destroy, not because their intensity has increased.  More than one hundred years of photography at Manly Beach in my electorate does not suggest that sea levels have risen despite frequent reports from climate alarmists that this is imminent.
It may be that a tipping point will be reached soon and that the world might start to warm rapidly but so far reality has stubbornly refused to conform to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s computer modelling.  Even the high-priests of climate change now seem to concede that there was a pause in warming between the 1990s and 2014.
So far, though, there’s no concession that their models might require revision even though unadjusted data suggests that the 1930s were actually the warmest decade in the United States and that temperatures in Australia have only increased by 0.3º over the past century, not the one degree usually claimed.
The growing evidence that records have been adjusted, that the impact of urban heat islands has been downplayed, and that data sets have been slanted in order to fit the theory of dangerous anthropogenic global warming does not make it false; but it should produce much caution about basing drastic action upon it.
Then there’s the evidence that higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (which is a plant food after all) are actually greening the planet and helping to lift agricultural yields.  In most countries, far more people die in cold snaps than in heat waves, so a gradual lift in global temperatures, especially if it [be] accompanied by more prosperity and more capacity to adapt to change, might even be beneficial.
In what might be described as Ridley’s paradox, after the distinguished British commentator: at least so far, it’s climate change policy that’s doing harm; climate change itself is probably doing good; or at least, more good than harm.
Australia, for instance, has the world’s largest readily available supplies of coal, gas and uranium, yet thanks to a decade of policy based more on green ideology than common sense, we can’t be sure of keeping the lights on this summer; and, in the policy-induced shift from having the world’s lowest power prices to amongst the highest, our manufacturing industry has lost its one, big comparative economic advantage.  […]
As a badge of environmental virtue, the South Australian state Labor government had been boasting that, on average, almost 50% of its power was wind-generated—although at any moment it could vary from almost zero to almost 100%.  It had even ostentatiously blown up its one coal-fired power station.
In September last year, though, the wind blew so hard that the turbines had to shut down—and the inter-connector with Victoria and its reliable coal-fired power failed too.  For twenty-four hours, there was a State-wide blackout.  For nearly two million people, the lights were off, cash registers didn’t work, traffic lights went down, lifts stopped, and patients were sent home from hospitals.
Throughout last summer, there were further blackouts and brownouts across eastern Australia requiring hundreds of millions in repairs to the plant of energy-intensive industries.  Despite this, in a display of virtue signalling, to flaunt its environmental credentials (and to boost prices for its other coal-fired plants), last March the French-government part-owned multinational, Engie, closed down the giant Hazelwood coal-fired station that had supplied a quarter of Victoria’s power.
The Australian Energy Market Operator is now sufficiently alarmed to have just issued an official warning of further blackouts this summer in Victoria and South Australia and severe medium term power shortfalls.  But in yet more virtue-signalling, energy giant AGL is still threatening to close the massive Liddell coal-fired power station in NSW and replace it with a subsidised solar farm and a much smaller gas-fired power station relying on gas supplies that don’t currently exist.
Were it not rational behaviour based on irrational government policy, this deliberate elimination of an essential service could only be described as a form of economic self-harm.

01 August, 2017

A Case for Sergeant Beef

Over at The Books of Leo Bruce—since the first post-war Sgt. Beef novel now seems to be out of print, and it is my policy to provide texts of all Leo Bruce’s out-of-print novels—I have begun providing the text, chaptermeal, of Leo Bruce’s Case for Sergeant Beef (London, 1947).


06 June, 2017

The Most Thorough Screening

Australians occasionally wonder how thorough the screening processes of various governmental agencies and departments are; here are a few recent transcripts released by concerned insiders viâ Lippiweaks.

A recent examination at the Border Control area of a major Australian airport:
Junior Border Control Officer: Have you any dangerous or illicit items to declare.
Recently Arrived Non-Citizen: No.
Junior Border Control Officer: I shall ask a second time. Have you any dangerous or illicit items to declare.
Recently Arrived Non-Citizen: No.
Junior Border Control Officer: I shall ask you yet again. Have you any dangerous or illicit items to declare?
Recently Arrived Non-Citizen: Well, yes, I have some explosives and opiates—oh, I mean, No. Damn! You got me bang to rights.
Senior Border Control Officer (to the visiting Minister): Ha! The third question gets them every time.
Minister for Immigration: What would happen had he said “No”.
Senior Border Control Officer: No one can answer thrice falsely. If someone say “No” for a third time we immediately allow them entry, of course.
Minister for Immigration: Of course. Rightio. Carry on.

A recent interrogation at the border control station near a minor Australian seaport:
Junior Immigration Officer: Are you a real refugee, one fleeing genuine persecution?
Unlawful Non-Citizen: Umm. Not really.
Junior Immigration Officer: Look, if you want to enter this country under our refugee programme you need to say “Yes”. Now, I’ll ask you again. Are you a real refugee, fleeing from persecution?
Unlawful Non-Citizen: No.
Junior Immigration Officer: Let’s try this another way. I’ll ask a question and you just say “Yes” to anything I ask, right?
Unlawful Non-Citizen: Yes?
Junior Immigration Officer: That’s the way. Well done. Okay. Are you a real refugee, fleeing genuine persecution, and entering this country without any seditious or terrorist intent, just wanting to enjoy our free way of life including generous welfare payments and the like? Say “Yes”.
Unlawful Non-Citizen: Well, I do have plans to—
Junior Immigration Officer: The correct answer is “Yes”.
Unlawful Non-Citizen: Yes.
Junior Immigration Officer: Welcome to Australia. Here is your free cell ’phone. Oh, you already have one. Never mind, here’s another. Here are your brochures and vouchers. Just head to that door marked “Completely Vetted Refugees”. Bye!

A recent hearing at the Parole Board of a large Australian prison:
Parole Officer: I see that you have been convicted of conspiracy to commit a terrorist attack, murder of witnesses, kidnapping, rape, sedition and arson, that you have served only six months of a six-year sentence, and that you still have to face trial on other serious charges once the public prosecutor finally collates all the evidence against you and your accomplices. If you are released on parole will you promise to be of good behaviour?
Convicted Terrorist: I shall, of course, behead all those who insult the Prophet (PBuH) and generally smite all unbelievers, which I consider to be fairly good behaviour—
Parole Officer: Just say “Yes”.
Convicted Terrorist: Yes, you filthy pig.
Parole Officer: Good. Here are you papers. Off you go.

Effective Fatwas

A few rulings from scholars will soon put an end to terrorism, surely.

In an apartment, somewhere in the West:
Mahmud Mahummed: Okay, our vests are primed, our guns are loaded, our knives are sharpened, and the van is fully fuelled; let’s go out and slaughter some infidels for the glory of Allah.
Mahommad Mahmoud: Wait, wait; I’ve just read a ruling from some scholars which affirms that “suicide attacks, armed insurgency against a state, and use of force in the name of imposing Shariah” is forbidden.
Mahmud Mahummed: Yeah? Who are these clowns when they’re home?
Mahommad Mahmoud: Thirty-one noted scholars at a seminar at the International Islamic University in Islamabad.
Mahmud Mahummed: And does our own Iman endorse this so-called ruling?
Mahommad Mahmoud: Not so much.
Mahmud Mahummed: And does anyone in our community ever pay any attention to the International Islamic University in Islamabad?
Mahommad Mahmoud: Not that I can recall.
Mahmud Mahommed: Right. Well, I guess we’ll stay home today and watch the… Wait, why should we not go out and slaughter immodestly dressed infidels and thereby deliver ourselves straight to a rather nifty paradise?
Mahommad Mahmoud: It seems our terror group does not belong to the true Muslim faith.
Mahmud Mahummed: What moron asserts that?
Mahommad Mahmoud: Umm, some infidel on Facebook.
Mahmud Mahommed: Uh huh.
Mahommad Mahmoud: You don’t think we should heed infidels on Facebook?
Mahmud Mahummed: Now, what do you reckon? Perhaps you’d prefer that the interpretation of the holy scriptures come not from your own constant reading thereof, or from the wise lessons of our learned Imams, but from some emasculated atheist who is too scared to arm himself and announces that we should all co-exist. Perhaps you’d rather just spend an entire lifetime doing really good deeds in the vague hope that you might somehow work your way into a slightly inferior paradise instead of immediately entering the paradise for martyrs. Perhaps you like the idea of a world ruled by infidels yelling that people may dress and dance and drink as they please and that the true religion is just like their own effete, incoherent set of contradictory beliefs which consists mainly of saying only nice things about everyone and giving every runner in every race a participation certificate instead of rewarding the actual winners. Perhaps you’d rather we just sauntered down to the local pub dressed like infidels and have a few pints, instead of doing Allah’s mighty work, eh? Perhaps you reckon it’s perfectly fine to sit back with a few cold ones whilst young girls and sodomites freely dance to the so-called music of a young celebrity cavorting like a semi-naked, devil-worshipping whore. Perhaps—
Mahommad Mahmoud: Yeah, yeah, I get it. Nonetheless, I do think we should stay home and be nice to our godless neighbours.
Mahmud Mahummed: All right then.

24 May, 2017

As in the Blitz!

In the wake of yet another attack (which had nothing to do with Islam, obviously, by a deluded lone wolf), some people (the same folk, for the most part, who blether of tolerance and the pressing need not to blame our Mahometan neighbours who are, as ever, the real victims here) urge Britons to carry on as normal—as in the Blitz!—in order to defy evil terrorists.  Of course, though Londoners, for example, did do their best to live their lives as normally as possible during World War II they did so whilst their military forces were actually fighting the Axis powers by, say, constantly bombing the enemy.
Things would be very different if the politicians of today had been in power during WWII:
BBC announcer: Here is the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, speaking from the smoking ruins of the Palace of Westminster.
Prime Minister: Good evening. I speak to you tonight, grief-stricken by the horrid events of this day. As you are probably aware, waves of aeroplanes of the Luftwaffe, Nazi Germany’s airforce, again dropped thousands of bombs over south-east England today, many over the great city of London, and many hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians are dead and many, many more are grievously injured.  There has been great destruction of property, including damage to our most beloved buildings of outstanding cultural worth.
But we cannot allow loss of life and heritage—which is just part and parcel with living in a modern city, really—to fill our minds with hate.  Not all Germans are Nazis, and not all Nazis are evil.  Furthermore, National Socialism is a great political ideology, with many peaceful adherents, and a long and rich history.   Nazism has absolutely nought to do with war or terrorism.  Many (or, at least, some) Nazis, according to reliable surveys, are quite moderate and are not entirely supportive of the total abolition of democracy, the brutal repression of “non-Aryan” peoples, and the pitiless extermination of Jews.
We ought to send only good wishes to our enemies, as we send our thoughts and prayers to those in sorrow, and we must let Nazi Germany know that we shall welcome them all, with loving, open arms, not with force of arms, whenever they choose to visit our rich and hospitable, borderless land.  We shall welcome the Nazis on the beaches, we shall welcome them on the landing grounds, in the fields and in the streets, we shall welcome them in the hills; we shall never surrender to hate.  The way to stop conflict is to refuse to participate in conflict!  We must shew the good people of Germany, in word and deed, that we shall not stoop to similar acts of destruction and intolerance.  Instead, let us send messages of peace and good will to the ordinary people of Germany whilst shewing those who attacked us that they cannot triumph over us.
We will live our lives as if Herr Hitler and his arrogant but wrong-headed cohort of intolerant National Socialists had not declared war on peaceful democracies and completely subjugated the citizenry of France and Poland and several other countries which few have heard of.  We will keep our streets well lit, we will impose no curfew, we will continue to work and play as if nothing untoward occurred and, in short, we will bravely carry on as usual.
It won’t be long before the leadership of Nazi Germany realises that diversity beats uniformity, open-hearted liberalism overcomes narrow-minded provincialism, tolerance defeats intolerance, and love vanquishes hate and no one ever achieved anything with violence.
Good night from what was, once, the House of Commons and the home of representative government.
UPDATE I:  see “‘Dangerous Woman’ Meets Dangerous Man” by Mark Steyn:
“Carrying on exactly as before”, as The Independent advises, will not be possible.  A few months ago, I was in Toulouse, where Jewish life has vanished from public visibility and is conducted only behind the prison-like walls of a fortress schoolhouse and a centralised synagogue that requires 24/7 protection by French soldiers; I went to Amsterdam, which is markedly less gay than it used to be; I walked through Molenbeek after dark, where unaccompanied women dare not go.  You can carry on, you can stagger on, but life is not exactly as it was before.  Inch by inch, it’s smaller and more constrained.  […]
All of us have gotten things wrong since 9/11.  But few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamisation is both unstoppable and manageable.  It is neither—and, for the sake of the dead of last night’s carnage and for those of the next one, it is necessary to face that honestly. Theresa May’s statement in Downing Street is said by my old friends at The Spectator to be “defiant”, but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality.  So too for all the exhausted accessories of defiance chic:  candles, teddy bears, hashtags, the pitiful passive rote gestures that acknowledge atrocity without addressing it—like the Eloi in H G Wells’ Time Machine, too evolved to resist the Morlocks.
On the supposed inutility of violence, see Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein (New York, 1959), Chapter II:
One girl told [the teacher of History and Moral Philosophy] bluntly:  “My mother says that violence never settles anything.”
“So?”  Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly.  “I’m sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that.  Why doesn’t your mother tell them so?  Or why don’t you?”
They had tangled before—since you couldn’t flunk the course, it wasn’t necessary to keep Mr. Dubois buttered up.  She said shrilly, “You’re making fun of me!  Everybody knows that Carthage was destroyed!”
“You seemed to be unaware of it,” he said grimly.  “Since you do know it, wouldn’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly? However, I was not making fun of you personally; I was heaping scorn on an inexcusably silly idea—a practice I shall always follow.  Anyone who clings to the historically untrue—and thoroughly immoral—doctrine that ‘violence never settles anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it.  The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon.  Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.  Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.”
UPDATE II (25 May):  Mark Steyn writes a sequel to his article quoted supra:
My thoughts yesterday did not meet with universal agreement.  Linda Cianchetti emails:
The killer was the queen of England’s clan.
Rothschild Soros club.
Stop zionist Israel jews from manufacturing all this illusion. They are the banking cartel around the world. Stop blaming everyone but the culprits, themselves. Or we will have no respect for journalists and the tales they put out.
Well, thanks for clearing that up.
I get a lot more of this than I used to.  I suspect Ms Cianchetti would blame “zionist Israel jews” and “the queen of England’s clan” whatever happened, but it’s a close call whether she’s any more detached from reality than, say, Newsweek fretting about “reprisals” against Muslims or the nincompoop diversicrat who serves as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester sternly warning that we must not “tolerate hate”—by which he means not the hate of people who shred little girls’ bodies with nail bombs but the mean-spirited Tweets of people who get angry at the people who shred little girls’ bodies with nail bombs
The Official Lies are getting more ludicrous, and (with respect to the investigation of Fleet Street columnists for entirely innocuous observations) dangerous and totalitarian.  One further danger of the Official Lies is that their obvious fraudulence bolsters the confidence of Ms Cianchetti and the similarly inclined in their derangements.
UPDATE III (25 May):  see “After Manchester: It’s Time for Anger” by Brendan O’Neill:
As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy—good. Grief—good. Sharing your sadness online—great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. […]
The post-terror cultivation of passivity speaks to a profound crisis of—and fear of—the active citizen. It diminishes us as citizens to reduce us to hashtaggers and candle-holders in the wake of serious, disorientating acts of violence against our society. It decommissions the hard thinking and deep feeling citizens ought to pursue after terror attacks. Indeed, in some ways this official post-terror narrative is the unwitting cousin of the terror attack itself.  
[…]That the post-terror narrative is fundamentally about taming our passion and politics is clear from its sidelining of all issues of substance. We are actively warned against asking difficult questions about 21st-century society and why it has this violence in it, this nihilism in it. Question the wisdom of multiculturalism, of refusing to elevate one culture over another and instead encouraging people to live in their own cultural bubbles, and you’re racist. Wonder [whether] the obsession with combatting ‘Islamophobia’ might have given rise to a situation where some Muslims, especially younger ones, cannot handle ridicule of their religion, and… well, you’re ‘Islamophobic’. As for immigration:  this is the great unmentionable; you’re a fascist even for thinking about it. The post-terror narrative that barks ‘You must empathise!’ also says, implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, ‘You mustn’t think! […]
It is wrong to have core values in a society built on diversity, apparently, and we mustn’t ever suggest that any particular ideology poses a threat to those values, because that might involve ‘punching down’, singling people out, etc. We end up with a unity of shallow feeling, a union of highly individuated mourners, not a unity around real ideals and things and vision. Their cry of unity is a lie. The fact is there are people in our society willing to attack us, others who will think those attacks are justified, and others still who will apologise for those attacks by saying they’re a product of ‘Islamophobia’ or Western intervention overseas.  
Stop and think about how strange it is, how perverse it is, that more than 20 of our citizens have been butchered and we are basically saying: ‘Everyone calm down. Love is the answer.’ Where’s the rage? If the massacre of children and their parents on a fun night out doesn’t make you feel rage, nothing will. The terrorist has defeated you.  You are dead already.

13 May, 2017

Potato, Sweet Potato & Misnomers

If I were given some sugared flesh when I asked for a sweetmeat, or supplied peas after I ordered some sweet peas I should be disappointed almost as much, I warrant, as a diner who asked for a plate of sweetbread with some sweet corn on the side and was instead served a slice of bread and honey, say, with some sugared wheat or barley; similarly, if I ordered some mashed potato or fried potato chips and was instead given some mashed sweet potato or fried sweet potato chips I should be rightly peeved.  The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is not the same as the potato (Solanum tuberosum), and perversely providing a dish of sweet potatoes instead of a dish of potatoes when potatoes were ordered is insultingly wrong.
On a recent episode of MasterChef Australia a contestant, Benjamin Bullock, deliberately provided a meal featuring sweet potato beignets (which he called “doughnuts”) though the meal was meant to feature potatoes—it was a “potato challenge”—wherefore he failed entirely to supply a meal which had to feature (in the words of Gary Mehigan, one of the judges) potato as “the heart of the dish”; that mischievous contestant should have been soundly horse-whipped and sent home in disgrace.  The contestant who was instead eliminated from the competition, Josh Clearihan, had prepared inadequate gnocchi (which he insisted on pronouncing “nocky”); he ought to have been punished for his wilfully wayward pronunciation of a classic Italian dish but at least he used real spuds in the potato challenge.

quite appropriate for a potato challenge
quite inappropriate for a potato challenge

See the the first paragraphs of Chapter One, “Misnomers”, from Thomas Love Peacock’s novel, Gryll Grange (London, 1861):
‘Palestine soup!’ said the Reverend Doctor Opimian, dining with his friend Squire Gryll; ‘a curiously complicated misnomer.  We have an excellent old vegetable, the artichoke, of which we eat the head; we have another of subsequent introduction, of which we eat the root, and which we also call artichoke, because it resembles the first in flavour, although, me judice, a very inferior affair.  This last is a species of the helianthus, or sunflower genus of the Syngenesia frustranea class of plants.  It is therefore a girasol, or turn-to-the-sun. From this girasol we have made Jerusalem, and from the Jerusalem artichoke we make Palestine soup.’

Mr. Gryll.
A very good thing, doctor.

The Rev. Dr. Opimian.
A very good thing; but a palpable misnomer.

Mr. Gryll.
I am afraid we live in a world of misnomers, and of a worse kind than this. In my little experience I have found that a gang of swindling bankers is a respectable old firm; that men who sell their votes to the highest bidder, and want only ‘the protection of the ballot’ to sell the promise of them to both parties, are a free and independent constituency; that a man who successively betrays everybody that trusts him, and abandons every principle he ever professed, is a great statesman, and a Conservative, forsooth, à nil conservando; that schemes for breeding pestilence are sanitary improvements; that the test of intellectual capacity is in swallow, and not in digestion; that the art of teaching everything, except what will be of use to the recipient, is national education; and that a change for the worse is reform.

01 April, 2017

Parsing Presidential Pronouncements Perversely

Misreading Trump

When President Trump

uses metaphors fools parse
them literally

but when he speaks plain
truth those clowns interpret that

The media take
Trump’s jokes and flippancies far
too seriously

whilst treating his
serious announcements as
flippant, wilfully.

Wise folk, as ever,
would do well if they disdain
such perversity.

14 February, 2017

If You Need to Lie anent an Opponent’s Supposed Lies…

Speakers of Lies in Hypocrisy*

I should have hoped that
decent people would not need
this explanation:

all those who condemn
liars on moral grounds have
an obligation

to ensure their own
claims are based on facts and true.
A declaration

which merely repeats
another man’s fallacious

unchecked, is as wrong,
morally, as a willful

Still, it’s good to see
that even liars dislike

* “ἐν ὑποκρίσει ψευδολόγων…” (I Tim., iv:2).
† I say this because the leader of the world’s most powerful nation is called a liar by the most flagrant liars; their denigration seems moved by hatred for popular policies on immigration (and the like) which, they assert falsely, are quite fascist in motivation.
‡ Some readers mentioned that they had to search in a dictionary for the word “tergiversation”; I responded: “I’m sorry for the eccentricity; it would have been an infelicity to use the non-rhyming “duplicity”.

UPDATE I (16 Feb. 2017):  see John Nolte’s “24 Pieces of MSM Fake News in 5 Days” and Daniel Payne’s “16 Fake Stories Reporters Have Run since Trump Won”; see also “If You Just Started Caring about Political Scandals Again, You’re a Brazen Hypocrite” by Matt Walsh:
The truth matters.  It matters now just as it mattered for the past eight years.  So when Dan Rather claims that Trump may already be guilty of the biggest political scandal in his lifetime, and the New York Times insists that Obama had a scandal free White House, and USA Today along with many other outlets echo that absolutely ridiculous assertion, it behooves those of us who value the truth to calmly respond: UM, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?
UPDATE II (16 Feb.):  see “When Lying about Secret Meetings Was OK” by Jack Cashill.

UPDATE III (16 Feb.):  watch “Lying to America” written and directed by David Gray:

UPDATE IV (17 Feb.):  Katty Kay, an alleged journalist for the BBC, posted a series of complaints on Twitter mocking Pres. Trump including this inaccurate assertion:

I posted a response:
Katty Kay is dissatisfied.
“Some people say we’re fake,” she cried,
“and then Mr. Trump said ‘They lied’!”
(BBC folk cannot abide
being criticised; they may chide
leaders but it’s undignified
for a president to deride
the world’s self-appointed news guide.)
Katty Kay, have you really tried
to be more honest and less snide
and, for once, to try to provide
accurate news, not of one side,
but with fairness strictly applied?
No, you are completely one-eyed.
Chuck Todd, an alleged journalist for NBC News, posted this complaint on Twitter:

I responded:
If delegitimizing the press be so heinous, @chucktodd, perhaps the press should stop delegitimizing itself with crazed bias.
UPDATE V (2 March):  watch the NRA’s “Truth Doesn’t Matter to The New York Times”:

16 October, 2016

Soundtrack: Excerpt from Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship

See the Love & Friendship Movie blog for details of the forthcoming short film, “An Excerpt from Jane Austen’s Love & Friendship”, which constitutes a pitch for making a full-length motion picture based on Jane Austen’s epistolary novella.

17 November, 2015

The Easy Way to Stop Troubles: Ignore Them

Facebook is full of people repeating such silliness as this:
“Everyone is worried about stopping terrorism.  Well, there’s a really easy way:  Stop participating in it.”

—Noam Chomsky
How wise and true! Here’s what will surely happen:- 
In a back street of a large, major city a jihadist grabs a passing stranger, Joe, and holds a scimitar to his throat.

Jihadist:  Die, crusading bastard!

Joe:  Hey, stop! I’m not involved.

Jihadist (holding his scimitar away from Joe’s throat but still holding Joe in a strong grip):  What?

JoeYour struggle has nought to do with me.  I don’t participate in terrorism.  I believe in live-and-let-live and, to the extent that I have any awareness of the issues, I support your freedom to follow your religion in any way which seems best to you for I am a man of cultured reason and tolerance.  I have “an audacious confidence in the fundamental goodness of others”, including your good self.*

Jihadist:  You’re not a tool of the oppressive, imperialist crusader dogs?

Joe:  No, not I.  I am the very definition of a non-participant.

Jihadist:  Wait, I don’t kill you?

Joe: If it’s no trouble.

Jihadist (releasing Joe):  Oh, well, sorry to have bothered you.  I’ll go grab another victim to behead then.

Joe:  Nice chatting with you.  Good luck with your endeavours. See ya.

Jihadist:  Thanks.  Bye.
*  the words from “I am” to “self”, featuring a quote from the ABC’s jihadist-loving Jonathan Green, were suggested by a poster, Rabz, at Catallaxy Files.

Remember, you too can gain an underserved reputation for wisdom simply by voicing similarly quotable admonitions; for example, try “There’s a really easy way to stop x: stop participating in it”, wherein x = “murder”, “rape”, “burglaries”, “the heat-death of the universe”, “poverty”,
“rough, dry elbows” or “superhero sequels”.