northzax's Journal - Archives
first off, what a stupid name, calling a book 'the book' but in a fancy old language, so it sounds better. that's just dumb. And it goes on from there. What, was this thing written by committee or something? how can you go from the poetry of Song of Solomon to the genealogical dust of "so and so begat so and so" for like 50 pages. Come on, it's like reading the old version of The Princess Bride, (by S. Morgenstern) without the modern culling. painful. and the violence. and the sex. incest? please. it's all been done. the thing is painfully derivative, and the crappy translations don't help. What's with the Deus et Machina ending? please. tacky. sentimental preachy claptrap.
seriously, if I want cheap obvious plots, I will read Nicolas Sparks. Could you imagine walking into even a vanity press with this thing and trying to publish is de novo? not a chance.
in a discussion like this. Everyone on this board was either spanked or not spanked, and has a story to tell about how it did or did not affect them as adults.
person a says their parents were too strict, person b says their parents were too light on discipline. (in fact, my sister and I disagree about our own parents, and we lived through the exact same thing, so how can anecdotal evidence prove anything between strangers?)
there are two things, however, you will never see on this thread:
1: parents who say, "I never spanked my kids, and they grew up to be holy terrors, homicidal maniacs, really. I regret not spanking them. Boy are they lazy, useless layabouts, I should have spanked them more."
2: Parents who say, "I spank my kids and they fight everytime they get angry."
so it's a ridiculous discussion to ever have.
first: get a graduate education in Western European Art Theory from the midieval period to today.
second: get a graduate education in Eastern Philosphy, perferably focusing on the Sufi Mystics of the 12th century.
third: read the collected works of Thucydides in the original greek.
fourth: realize that Hermann is a stupid comic and never makes any sense whatsoever.
If the speakers of that language and that culture choose not to protect it themselves? do you go to sleep at night mourning the loss of cunneiform B? that no one speaks aramaic (besides Mel Gibson, of course) that Latin is not taught in schools? that indigenous Japanese was wiped from the earth two millenia ago in favor of a more sinophilic version? do you hear the wails of Troy, Carthage, Machu Picchu, Sparta, Ur, Chaco Canyon and the untold other cities and cultures destroyed by time and other, non-western european cultures?
Congratulations on reading your Calvino. You did, however, completely miss the point. What Marco Polo wanted us to realize is that every decision, every difference, comes at the cost of other decisions and differences that will never be. But to dwell on it too much is to invite paralysis. you cannot change what cities have been destroyed, what cultures never were, what languages are lost to time. you can only address the situation today.
I'll see your Calvino and raise you Robert Frost:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
and, of course, since you are obsessed with the past and loss: Heraclites: "No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man."
let's play some Choose your own adventure!
So imagine now, you are cruising along the great grey green limpopo river (all ringed about with fever trees, of course) and you come across an indigenous tribe, let's call them the Joneses. The Joneses have had little contact with the western world (much like that tribe that walked out of the Amazon a few years ago,) They take you to their leader, let's call him Bob. Bob's 10 year old daughter is engaged to be married to an older man, as his fifth wife. You, however, as a doctor, know that she is likely to develop a fistule because her hips are too narrow. Simply taking her to the nearest hospital will save her life. The tribe does not use currency, as we know it, so they cannot pay. What do you do? let her be married off and die in childbirth, or remove her from the situation and take her to the nearest hospital, thereby exposing the entire tribe to western culture and inevitably destroying theirs? Who do you pick, what you see as the benefit of the tribe, or what is to the immdiate benefit of the girl? There is no 'right' answer, it comes down to whether you value culture or human life more. Would you slash the Mona Lisa to save a life, or slash a man to save the Mona Lisa? What will you tell the Joneses? "I can help you, but that would ruin your traditional culture and way of life, so sorry."? come on.
but the life expectancy for an urban black man in the united states is 64. The life expectancy for a man born in Haiti is 54. (in fact, the life expectancy for a black man in the rural US is even lower, total of 58, but still higher than Haiti.) don't let the facts get in the way of some good ideology though. As a general rule, urban life expectancy is higher than rural life expectancy. people in cities live longer. Counterintuitive, I know, but the way it is. As of today, for the first time in history, more people live in urban areas than in non-urban ones.
The fact is, people seem to like the western model, and choose to adapt it. When given a choice between sustenance agriculture and industrialization, individuals overwhelmingly choose indsutrialization (not all, of course) who are you to tell people that their culture and traditions are so precious that they can't have an education, learn to read, have an ambition besides simply surviving on agriculture? Who are you to tell people that they must disband their cities (since cities are obviously not sustenance-agriculture based) and return to the traditions they have, in many (but not all) cases abandonded? Personally, I have worked on an organic farm, it is miserable, backbreaking work, and I have the deepest respect for those who choose to do it, but it's not for me. Personally, I like having a computer (and I see you do as well) I like having electricity, and lighting, and coffee and tea, and food that does no grow within a cart's ride of my home. I like antibiotics, without them, I would be dead several times over. modern surgical techniques, I'm a big fan. it's great that my 76 year old boss could fall and break her hip and not die. I'm a fan. I have many of the skills I need to live in a quasi-industrial society, I can kill my own game, clean it and store it. I can grow food. I can build a shelter with rudimentary tools I made myself. I can work 14 hours a day, seven days a week in a field. I am lucky that I don't have to, because frankly, I don't want to. can you?
Seriously, while you are all wrapped up in ideology, go live the life and report back in a year. go live a truely preindustrial life and let us know how that works out for you.
this is not to say that, in many cases, the shock of industrialization has not been bad for individuals. it certainly has often been. but the long term benefits of allowing people the choice outweigh the costs. I certainly have no desire to pick and choose which 5 billion people will die to return to a sustenance agrarian society, or are you volunteering?
you reference an article saying that there is a toy store in Ladakh selling barbies. Fine, there is a toy store across the street from my office in DC selling arts and crafts made in Ladakh. Works both ways, see?
and your final point And as more and more people around the world become competitive, greedy, and egotistical, these traits tend to be attributed to human nature. I would posit that, since people seem to be willing to adopt these traits, indeed, eager to do so, that they are, in fact, human nature when society and circumstance doesn't pressure us to adopt other strategies. What were the pharoahs of ancient egypt, if not greedy, competitive and egotistical? what where the brahmins of India, if not greedy, competitive and egotisitical (or is the Taj Mahal a monument to sharing the wealth?) what were the Aztec and Mayan ziggaurats, if not monuments to greed, ego and competition? Been to Machu Picchu lately? Stonehenge? checked out the Imperial Palace in Beijing? want me to keep listing them?
Or take, perhaps, another sociological example. Take the big five religious traditions (Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity) Why do all teach sharing, compassion and humbleness, if, in fact, these are all normal human traits? If this is the way we naturally are, then why do we need prophets and gods to keep us in line? What was Buddha protesting, if not the lack of compassion for the poor and the basic unfairness of life in pre-industrial India? Why did the Haida, to name an indigenous people in a land of plenty, have cultural and religious traditions mandating that people share the wealth between the haves and have nots, if it is natural to do so? Why did many sub-saharan african tribes keep slaves from wars? Why did they have royalty? Hereditary royalty is a remarkably consistent feature of pre-industrial societies. including, of course, the unspoiled Ladakh. I am certain, though, that the Ladakh royalty worked in the fields with everyone else, right? contributing their fair share? please.
Localised sustenance did, in fact, vary from place to place, in places of plenty, it was all good. in places of scarcity, it sucked. just luck of the draw, I guess.
let us return to sustenance living. Cause you know what sucks? Penicillin. Electricity. living past the age of 35.
let us not romanticize true sustenance living. Life in a true sustenance system is, as Thomas Hobbes would put it, nasty, brutish and short. The entirety of human civilization has been a push against true sustenance living. You want to try it though? strip naked and walk into the woods. see how long you live. In north america in the winter? I give you a week, if you are in the South. In the north? hours. Turn off the computer (unless, of course, you made it, and are pedalling furiously on a generation system of your own design and manufacture to power it) and go out there.
and yes, India's textiles were destroyed. but then, so was it's brutish class system and the practice of slavery. And you know what? India seems to be doing fairly well, don't you think? Do you suppose the life expectancy of an average man on the subcontinent 50 or 350 years ago was really 64 years? sheesh.
if you are going to someone else's party, to conform to their standards of behaviour and attire. If it's a party where people swing from the rafters, then go wild. if it's one where people mill around and make polite chit chat, then do that. Black tie means black tie. If you can't conform to the standards of the party you are going to, then I recommend not going, out of respect to the hosts.
I've left the non-profit world myself this year, and am expected to wear a suit and tie to my office holiday dinner. I would certainly prefer not to, but that's the standard set, and I would expect any guest I brought along to conform to that standard as well.
My sister got married this summer, for instance, and the theme was 'dressy beach' I looked fine in seersucker suit, linen shirt and flip flops, my uncle wearing a tie looked downright silly. But I would never wear an untucked shirt or sandals to a wedding unless I knew that was the standard, I would consider it disrespectful to the hosts. Your wedding, obviously, the standard was motorcycle boots, which is fine and dandy, cause everyone knew it. I went to an ugly christmas sweater party this weekend, and, true to form, found an ugly christmas sweater, since that's what the hosts wanted.
for a work occasion, most intune employees know what to wear (even in the non-profit world I was in, where shorts and t-shirts were the rule of the day, I put on a suit to meet funders or other people I needed something from- when you are a guest, the only thing anyone should talk about your attire and behaviour is 'how wonderful' not 'wow, he totally missed the boat on that one'
American billionaire Randy Lerner is poised to take over Aston Villa after the club announced they had accepted the terms of his offer.
Villa made a statement to the Stock Exchange this morning recommending that shareholders accept the bid from Cleveland Browns owner Lerner, which values the club at £62.6million.
Lerner's takeover will end the long reign of 82-year-old chairman Doug Ellis, who has run the club since 1982 and also had an earlier spell at the helm.
Ellis said: 'It has been my sincere pleasure to have been involved with Aston Villa these many years, both as chairman and as a substantial shareholder. The club has been an enormous and immensely enjoyable part of my life.
interesting, this makes two NFL owners who have Premiership teams (Malcom Glazer ownd ManU)
no company should ever be able to make more that 5% a year on its assets. no matter the circumstances. I don't care if you invent a drug that cures cancer, you make 5%.
oh wait, no, we're only talking about Oil companies. Because you're addicted. I am sorry that your pusher raised the price on you again, but what do you expect someone to do to an addict? I don't remember anyone complaining on my behalf when cigarettes went up to settle the lawsuits. And I'm addicted to nicotine like you are addicted to gasoline. Both are slowly killing us and the people around us.
So get out of your car, buy a motorcycle, buy a track bike, ride to work, more to where you can ride to work. the number of people who really 'need' to drive every day is actually pretty small, most people can do just fine switching their lives around to accomodate the reality of high fuel prices. The rest of the world manages, so can we. Start planning your life around $4.00 gasoline, you'll be much happier in a couple of years when you get off the pusher's needle.
or, complain about how much money a company is making while you keep buying their products. If you don't like it, stop bitching and do something about it, like maybe stop buying their products. I don't like how WalMart does business, but instead of saying "the government has to do something" while standing in the checkout line, I take my business elsewhere. put your money where your mouth is, or stop complaining while you pay the pusher.
I know everone likes to think tht God loves the little babies and what not, but without being baptized, you cannot go to heaven. furthermore, for these jackasses, not accepting Jesus Christ as your personal saviour means you are not going to heaven, doesn't matter what else you do. Mother Theresa, for instance, isn't in Heaven, since she never accepted Jesus Christ as her personal saviour (since, duh, her religion doesn't ask for it) It's not a sickness, it's the way it is. you cannot achieve paradise through works, or life, only through that one instance of faith.
A side note, of course, it's why God has to raise Jesus from the Dead and ascend his corporal body to heaven, otherwise, of course, since he would not have accepted himself as his personal saviour, he would not be in heaven. ironic, ain't it? God had to find a loophole for his own kid. wait a minute, maybe God is a Republican...
by the way, Catholics aren't any better than these people, go visit a catholic church in say, Wisconsin, (which is the one I know of) right outside the churchyard there are graves for unbaptized babies, the still-born and suicides, none of which can be buried in consecrated ground. To say God Loves Babies is to simply pretend that your faith is not as brutal is it says it is.
seriously, if you're going to invade Lebanon, guarantee (and then follow through) on complete and total reconstruction. Go to the EU and or the US, and say, basically, let's throw tons of development money into Lebanon. Marshall plan the fuck out of Lebanon, rebuild everything, using local labor, Sign a free trade agreement with Beirut, and help them prosper. Give the Lebanese government the wherewithal to actually do law enforcement in their own country, and make every Lebanese choose between a life of prosperity and peace and one of war. With that, an international force, perhaps from Europe (since the US won't play under these clowns) can assist the Lebanese government in internal security matters, including law enforcement against Hezbollah. Win hearts and minds with jobs, clean water and hope, not at the end of a gun barrel.
or, sit back and watch as demographics overwhelm you.
since frankly, it is a thinly veiled accusation of anti-semitism against those who opposed the invasion and occupation of a state.
and let's be perfectly clear. It is just as possible to criticise Israel, a state, without criticizing Judaism as it is possible to criticise Saudi Arabia without criticising Islam, or Italy without criticising Catholicism, or Germany without criticisng Lutheranism, or England without Anglicansim. When I criticise Israel, I talk about the actions of a state, not a religion. In fact, the only state I can think of in which criticism of the state is directly equivalent to criticism of a religion is the Vatican City, a theocracy that is also the heart of a religion. Israel is not a theocracy, it is a democracy. the Prime Minister of Israel is not the equivalent of the Pope, he does not speak for, or act on behalf of, global Judaism. He acts and speaks on behalf of the citizens of Israel alone (who yes, happen to be Jewish)
so that's why I respond, because the original post was misguided and offensive in it's simplicity. this military action is not being done on behalf of, or in the name of, Judaism, it is being done in the name of, and behalf of Israel. learn the difference, cause there is one, and then come back and complain.
I see posts encouraging the collective guilt of Lebanese for the actions of a few. so it works both ways. how much should Lebanese pay for the sins incurred on Jews in the past millenia?
and does the need to prevent NEVER AGAIN (which is a worthy and neccesary goal) allow for the use of infettered force against another people? I think not. Frankly, there are two real ways to end the Hezbollah problem in Lebanon. One: eliminate Lebanon, we're talking flatten and salt the earth, tres biblical; second work to eliminate the devastating inequities that lead a larger proportion of people to acecpt violence and hate as the only way out of their pathetic lives. you cannot successfully respond to grass-roots terrorism with broad brush violence, it simply doesn't work in the long run. (you can, of course, respond to state sponsored terrorism with violence, as was done in Libya, Afghanistan and others; and you can respond to group-based terror with surgical violence, as was done to Black November) When a group has the support of the local population, you cannot root it out without destroying the local population, so the best way to deal with it, historically, has been to use the carrot and stick approach, not just the stick. Think of the two major terorrist groups, deeply rooted in their communities, that have been basically defanged in the past decade (ETA and IRA). Both were nationalist groups based in communities, both weathered attacks on the communities from the targeted nations. Both began to fail as economic prosperity and development lifted their home communities out of desperation. Finally, both laid down their arms, not in reponse to an attack, but in response to reduced support from their own communities. (oh, and both had support from Syria and Iran as well)
obviously, it's not a straight parallel to Hezbollah, but it can serve as a valuable lesson. When you have nothing to lose, and cannot perceive that you have anything to gain, it becomes easier to support crime and terror, as a general rule. it does not excuse it, only explains it. There will always be murderous assholes, but they tend to recruit followers more successfully through desperation (you don't see a lot of violent street gangs in Beverly Hills, after all.)
it is always tempting, and easy, to respond to violence with violence, and some is always appropriate. But if I were running Israel (or the US, or the EU, whatever) I would get together with the other states involved (the EU, the US, and the like) and start pouring real money into Lebanon. Build roads, schools, housing, factories, whatever. rebuild Beirut to the glories of old. crack down on violence, of course, and punish anyone directly involved in terror, but make your average, everyday Lebanese Citizen choose between a life of violence and death, and a life of work and family. Show them, (they already know) that Syria offers only bombs and guns, while we can offer them bread and wine. I don't think anyone would be really all that suprised by how many people pick the bread and wine. It may well take 20 years, but the option is another 50 years of war.
very simple. (and, by the way, Korea was one country up until the end of WWII, occupied by Japan, as you no doubt know, so I don't know what you're talking about there) it wasn't the US that was propping up the government there, it was Japan. And then, of course, this makes it the perfect arguement. In the past 50 years, which side of the DMZ is doing better? if you had to choose one to be born in today, would you pick North Korea or South Korea?
answer that, right now, would you rather be born a random citizen in South Korea or a random citizen in North Korea, if you were being born on July 12, 2006? That's the dividing line, pick one. North or South? a country used an abused by the US, or one used and abused by the Soviet Union and China? Who is, in your opinion, better off after 50 years?
As to your first point. Sorry, but the average person in the world is, in fact, better off today than in 1950. In that time frame, the global life expectancy has risen from 48 years to 68 years. oh yes, the average person who is 'worse off' lives 50% longer. no offense, but that ain't bad. Name one country in which life expectancy for a child born in 2006 is lower than one born in 1950? name one country that suffers from smallpox outbreaks, or polio outbreaks? name one country with less electricity production than in 1950. one country with worse sanitation systems. one country with worse medical care (not less medical care, worse medical care, you know my father's brother died in the US, in 1943, of STREP THROAT? when's the last time that happened in the US? suffer from Tuberculosis lately? Yellow Fever? Dengue Fever?
your romantic notion of how life actually was in 1950 is quaint, to be sure, but pathetically misguided. Sure, in the US, the average upper middle class, suburban white man was better off in 1950 than 2006. but what about the rural poor? Blacks in the South? women? you really want to go back to that idyllic time? bring it on then, I'm a well educated, well connected white male, the world would have been my oyster, since I wouldn't have had to compete with all those pesky women, and god forbid, the colored folk. How would you be doing?
and let's not talk about life outside the US at that time, we were actually the best off in the world, since the scarring of war barely touched us (and you might recall that was one of the few wars we didn't actually start) Europe, Japan, China, North Africa and the Soviet Union were wastelands, SouthEast Asia, Africa and Latin America were mired in poverty that you can't actually imagine (go read T.E. Lawrence's description of the slums of Cairo during WWI, and then tell me people aren't better off) but I'm willing to listen, please, do tell me one country in which the average person, randomly dropped into society, is worse off today than 50 years ago. You may, of course, pick an easy one currently embroiled in a war, if you would like. but then I'll pick the countries that were embroiled in wars in 1950 and we can compare.
So you have two assignments, if you actually can accomplish them: first off, do you want to be born on June 12, 2006 in North Korea or South Korea and why you picked that one. Or why it is somehow not a good example of the difference in meddling between the US and others. I'd accept a decent response to that.
Second, please explain why, in your opinion, the residents of a certain country (you can even pick the country, it's that easy, but if you pick one in a war, I'll know you have nothing to say on the topic) In fact, I'll change that. Please pick a country in one of the following areas and, using reasonable metrics (life expectancy, access to education, voting rights, property rights, access to medical care, etc) explain why the average citizen in that country is worse off in 2006 than in 1950. You may choose from Sub-Saharan Africa, Central or South America, the Caribbean, South-East Asia, Europe or Central Asia. Pick a country and use an average citizen as a proxy for the average global citizen, to prove your thesis that the average global citizen is worse off, as a general rule, today than in 1950. Don't forget to cite your evidence!
but, of course, you can't actually do this, I don't think. So I will accept an essay (perferably with citations and peer reviewed, but that's probably beyond the scope of possibility for this thesis) explaining how the average global person is worse off today than in 1950. If, of course, you list that, don't forget to answer the Korea Divide question, inquiring minds want to know!
"Gogglus Beerus" First identified by Aristotle, I think.
I mean really, I could have sworn she didn't have that big mole last night, you know?
Member since 2001
"It's an awesome achievement for one family to produce two of the four most unpopular presidents in modern times. If there were a Mount Rushmore for rejection, the Bushes would have half the place to themselves." -Bruce Reed, Slate.com “Thought is only a flash in the middle of a long night, but the flash that means everything. - Henri Poincaré
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