October 11th, 2007



Slavoj Zizek wrote an editorial for the New York Times called "How China Got Religion". One of the things I respect about Zizek is that he's a philosopher in the liberal sphere who operates with a strong understanding on what it means to have meaning in one's philosophy, and the tension between multicultural respect and maintaining an independent meaning for liberalism is real for him. A particularly interesting quote from said editorial: "When in 2001 the Taliban in Afghanistan destroyed the ancient Buddhist statues at Bamiyan, many Westerners were outraged — but how many of them actually believed in the divinity of the Buddha? Rather, we were angered because the Taliban did not show appropriate respect for the “cultural heritage” of their country. Unlike us sophisticates, they really believed in their own religion, and thus had no great respect for the cultural value of the monuments of other religions." .. I don't think that "hands-off respect" is a healthy attitude for society. When movements and faiths represent enough of a threat to society that we can't accept them even given a general disinclination to limit individual autonomy, they must be dealt with.
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Had a dream where a professor was going over a big stack of papers I had written, and we talked about the merits and occasinoal problems with each paper for awhile before he stamped each one of them as a failure and we moved on to the next. I just felt detached...

Death-cold weather is upon us. It shall get even worse. There are some upcoming events though, like a TMBG concert followed the next day by a VNV Nation concert, both at Mr. Small's.


Katanas of Stallman

From a recent IM conversation:

  • Improv: Sounds like a militant group of Stallmanists
  • Improv: "We're the Katanas of Stallman"
From the same conversation, I found that a friend of mine in Boston went to the semi-recent xkcd meetup, along with a few of her friends - looking at the gallery she pointed me at, I see a few CMUites...

I'm sometimes a bit weirded out by watching morbidly obese mothers walking around town with their already fairly obese 8 year olds, chowing down on donuts and ice cream as they walk. Apart from humming the Dr Robotnik song to myself (and anyone near me who gets it), ... it's just strange watching brain-damaged behaviour in front of me. Being that obese from such a young age closes so many doors, damages the body so much, and certainly detracts from the aesthetics of people - I don't know if I consider it child abuse exactly, but it seems really broken...

I'm bothered that a staff member at CMU (member of the philosophy department, even) wrote approvingly of the rudeness to Ahmadinejad at Columbia - Bollinger's opening was both a serious breach of etiquette and without good purpose. Collapse )If Bollinger did it for catharsis, he should've found some way to do that without colouring the forum with his misbehaviour. If he did it to apologise from those who would say the forum should not have been opened, he is a coward and betraying his obligation as a leading Academe with such waffling. There may, of course, be a number of other reasons, but I presently cannot imagine any good ones.

Two more bits of wrap-up on that story - Ahmadinejad partly withdrew from his statement about homosexuals in Iran - from what I understand, it's about as convincing as Billy Graham's "recanting" of his conspiracy theory against Jews or Mel Gibson's multiple recantations of all sorts of things.. Second, in response to a protest by some University students in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei spoke favourably of the protential for dissent in Persian politics.

I'm bothered that Clinton2 seems to be pulling ahead of Obama in the polls - I don't think that Obama is the best of all possible candidates in the best of all possible worlds, but I believe he's the best person we've seen running for awhile (Howard Dean would've been excellent as well, probably even moreso I think). I don't trust Clinton2 to stand firm on matters of important national interest (such as establishing an effective national health care system, finding an effective solution to the mess America's invasion has made of Iraq, and making overhauls to our electoral system to curtail lobbyists - in the latter she's quite bad and quite open about being so). Clinton represents a kind of stasis rather than progress (at least, as I define the axes). I am bothered that we have few sane visionary politicians - a few issues that I'm concerned with that nobody seems to care about:Collapse )

From an amusing article talking about the relationship between Bill O'Reilly and Steven Colbert, or rather one of the comments, "If the mainstream media were doing their job (at all)Collapse )In a battle between Industrialists, Theocrats, Deep Multiculturalists, small-town traditionalists, and doe-eyed Libertarians, I can't help but thinking that everybody loses.

I've been feeling really really lousy recently. The nature of things has seen this and has thrown me a few little crumbs to nibble on. I'm still starving though. I think the cracks in the smile I can summon as needed are starting to show outside of blogland.. Oh well, I still am grateful for those crumbs though, tea conversations and whatnot, and at least there are a lot of things to read.

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