Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: A Taxonomy of Poo

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  • Idiot Savant,

    But I will cop to this -- you bet your life that I'm damn sick of being tarred by association with right-wing nuts.

    Here's a suggestion: get better friends. Or stop hanging around in the same circles. Either should work.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1716 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Craig, the misogamy may have "come from all sides" but Thatcher's "class" issues were all to do with her own Tories (ironically, Tony Benn maybe being an exception to that rule).

    But, in her long reign as PM she was accused (rightly) of many bad things but, in my experience, never of being incapable of the top job. I do think that therein lies a difference between the really outlandish but surprisingly common descriptions of Helen Clark.

    More seriously, David (does the P in hD stand for Pol)...

    Good to see that you're doing your part to raise the per capita beer consumption of Zambians

    Humbly, I do my best. But I assure you your fears teatoladum in that venerable plot would be unfounded. Go there. Advice to the traveler, drink beer from a glass not the bottle.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And I wonder if Tom Scott would ever follow the lead of Gerald Scarfe who caricatured Thatcher as (among other things) a bitch excreting a turd resembling Edward Heath and an iron dominatrix naked except for a strap-on Exocet missile?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Craig, you miss the point with the likes of Scarfe and Steve Belle. Their caricatures of Blair, Brown and others easily match those drawn during the Thatcher years.

    Scott has actually done similar stuff to Clark / Cullen (in his own great style) as well as their predecessors. I am not sure what your point is but it feels like you are clutching at straws.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Here's a suggestion: get better friends. Here's a suggestion: get better friends. Or stop hanging around in the same circles. Either should work.

    Here's a suggestion: If imitating Cameron Slater and "Redbaiter" (who don't approve of my friendship and working relationship with our host one little bit) is your idea of 'sarcasm', get some new material.

    I've never "hung around" with either individual -- and would quite like to keep it that way.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I've had a fucking fabulous day with the better half

    Too.Much.Information.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Hypothesis, and as such, hypothetical: Perigo+undiagnosesd stroke=Phineas Gage?

    Danielle:

    I can, boringly, list several US historians who were all Marxists in the sixties and seventies and now faff on about the wonders of authoritarian militarism and manifest destiny.
    Truebelievers: they have a lot to answer for.

    While I disagree with some points of John Gray's Black Mass, I do agree with his point that that Marxism is just like any authoritarian cult. While Marxism is nominally distinct from right-wing authoritarianism or neoconservatism or libertarianism, they are essentially authoritarian social darwinism and there is no essential shift from the authoritarian, deterministic pattern or mindset of Marxism to those ideologies. If a certain kind of mind that is incapable of dealing with ambiguities and uncertainties or compromise become disenchanted with the contradictions of one authoritarian deterministic system and adopt anothe that is equally so with far more ease than they would one that is vague, ambiguous, compromising according to their basic way of thinking.

    Yes, I do regard libertarianism as an authoritarian system because it is (to me at least) a mythology based on "might is right... and lucky me, I happen to be mighty."

    "Survival of the fittest", by the way, was not invented by Darwin. As one Darwinist biologist of my acquaintance put it, Darwinism could more accurately be put as "survival of the least inadequate."

    Kyle:

    Meh, historians, they don't count.

    "Even God could not change the past, and so He created historians." - Voltaire

    (pretentious quote serving as observation, no more)

    Craig:

    I've been reading it for years, Idiot, and you can go sit in the naughty corner with Perigo and stop being such a precious little toddler.

    OFGS, chill out! There's "balance" and there's the search for equivalence which can sometimes get absurd. As far as I'm concerned, Perigo and his hysterical friends are not to be placed on some neat, orderly spectrum - I think even the right can reject his coprolalia (coprographia?) as symptomatic of a severe personality disorder without having to feel that ground has been conceded to the left.

    David:

    The same meaningless phrases over-and-over: "political correctness", "nanny state", etc. with almost no attempt at analysis or reference to fact.

    Dunno if this is relevant, or if I can quite articulate my meaning, but the language that David refers too is something that is actually less language in the sense that something is comprehended and communication is established in order to further comprehension in others than simply the attachment of labels. I mean, one of the criticisms of Irene Pepperberg's work with Alex the parrot was that in fact Alex was in some cases at least, using sounds attached as labels to various phenomena without any actual comprehension of the concepts and signification. Scatological language os not by its nature logical or consistent or refering to anything specifically or directly, but serves the purpose of engendering shock and disgust at the base level, therefore it does not need to be meaningful or logical in any other way. Ie., as you say, it is duckspeak, of a particular kind.

    Wossname:

    Frankly, the research was pissweak -- but that's all that's needed at universities these days.

    Cheap shot - which is all someone with a poverty of intellect can afford. Try succeeding at a university, see how hard it really is and maybe I'll take you seriously. Yes, academics use obscure language. So do musicians and dentists (chromaticism, impaction?), because what they say has to be precise within its context. I'll take the piss myself, but philistine know-nothingism with a gloss of "Eh, in my day..." rhetoric from the Four Yorkshiremen sketch is indeed a thoroughly hollow pose.

    For the record, teaching someone all the words to The Red Flag by making her skull every time she made a mistake is NOT the most effective teaching technique

    Maybe not, Emma, but it sounds a lot more fun than Migram's (in)famous experiment.

    And I wonder if Tom Scott would ever follow the lead of Gerald Scarfe... etc

    Craig, please! The language these people use is simply pathological. The search for some sort of equivalence is absurd under the circumstances. "Question, worth 40% of total test score: Was Stalin was as bad as/worse than Hitler?" Really, at certain levels, nit-picking which act of vileness scores more decimal increments on the mephistometer is meaningless.

    Sorry about the apparent Godwining, but my defence, M'lud, is that I haven't in fact Godwined the discussion, but rather reinforced Godwin's principle by asserting, as he did, that hyperbole is pointless.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    More seriously, David (does the P in hD stand for Pol)...

    As a very old academic joke has it, PhD stands for "Piled Higher and Deeper" (as in books, notes, pizza boxes and unwashed dishes).

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Suze Vermeer,

    Slightly off-topic but sort of poo-related: May I make a plea to Russell and others to spell arse the good old Kiwi way, not the American way, which is really an animal synonymous with stupidity.
    Russell, you describe the stuff Stoddart quotes as 'crazy-assed'. This spelling upsets me. Are you imagining that word spoken in an American accent? What's wrong with 'crazy-arsed'?
    And please don't anyone take this as simplistic anti-Americanism. It's just that arse is a perfectly fine word. Especially when used as an expletive, e.g. instead of darn, dammit, shit or bugger.
    Anyhoo, excellent discussion, y'all.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 29 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    "Here's a suggestion: If imitating Cameron Slater and "Redbaiter" (who don't approve of my friendship and working relationship with our host one little bit) is your idea of 'sarcasm', get some new material.

    I've never "hung around" with either individual -- and would quite like to keep it that way".

    People hang around politically on these threads. Politically it feels like you've hung around with them. Your joined to them not so much as a supporter of radical right politics but more of an almost irrational fear of the modern centre left.

    ..and don't get angry or swear because its just IMHO. ..remember that.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, please! The language these people use is simply pathological. The search for some sort of equivalence is absurd under the circumstances. "Question, worth 40% of total test score: Was Stalin was as bad as/worse than Hitler?" Really, at certain levels, nit-picking which act of vileness scores more decimal increments on the mephistometer is meaningless.

    Craig, you miss the point with the likes of Scarfe and Steve Belle. Their caricatures of Blair, Brown and others easily match those drawn during the Thatcher years.

    Fair point, Don -- after all, Scarfe titled one of his recent books 'Drawing Blood', and that deserves some kind of prize of truth in advertising. And Scarfe has been quite blunt that he holds Thatcher in utter contempt. But isn't it interesting that contempt for women politicians so often seem to have a sexual edge that's not turned on men -- the steely dominatrix (Thatcher), the castrating shrew (Clinton), the scary dyke (which is where we came in, isn't it?) And I'm still trying to figure out what the hell New Yorker editor David Remnick and illustrator Barry Blitt thought they were achieving with this. Michelle Obama goes all blaxploitation radical chic. Oy...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • davidamstalden,

    I've just got home from the pub, (where I've been working), and after skimming through the comments here I really just had to chip in my 3 cents worth. Hope you don't mind.

    I spend my nights getting people pissed and making sure they have a good time. Occasionally I'll have to break up a fight, (2 tonight), but it's usually nothing serious. It's not that sort of pub. My customers are plumbers and accountants, labourers and managers, but they're all pretty similar people. Just ordinary folks with the normal sort of problems and gripes, which I'll listen to and sympathise with. I'll hear a lot of casual racism, (from all sides), and if politics or religion are ever brought up it's usually with the general condemnation that neatly captures all the main culprits in a net of equal disdain.

    Which really brings me to my point, (if you've managed to read this far). The comments on this blog seem to echo the current political debate in New Zealand, in that there is such a disconnect between the reasoning and arguments put forth at the highest levels, and what really matters to the people on the street.

    Now, I really don't want to come across as some sort of anti-intilektual wanker dismissing what he can't be bothered to understand. I enjoy reading this blog, and the discourse that blazes back and forth in the comments section. I'll often end up learning something useful and it's always good for a laugh. But I have to tell you, I wish there was some way to connect what I read with the people I mix with every day.

    Seriously, Ayn Rind? Lindsey Perigo? Marxist running dogs vs corporate blitzkriegs? It all has as much relevance to my customers as...well....something with very little relevance. The anti-smacking bill? Seriously, no-one gives a damn, because we still smack our sons on the back of the head when they forget to say please, (and they still laugh when we do it). Carbon trading? Sure, why not come up with another way that finance counsellors can steal our parents' life savings. John Key's a smug multi-millionaire? We already knew that. And Helen Clark's a passionless intellectual autocrat? We got that one a while ago, and we don't care.

    I'm just saying, A lot of the debate I've been hearing, and reading, this year just doesn't seem to resonate with the actuality I see every day.

    New Plymouth • Since Mar 2008 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • davidamstalden,

    Sorry, now that I've posted my thoughts I think I came across as a bit of a precious git. I really didn't mean to post a lecture.

    My point really was that sometimes it's easy to forget about the forest when you're counting trees.

    Or: "It takes ten people with their feet on the ground to support one person with their head in the clouds."

    New Plymouth • Since Mar 2008 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I agree on the ass vs arse thing, Suze.

    And David?

    I wish there was some way to connect what I read with the people I mix with every day

    Honey, I've read this entire thread and I don't even know what taxonomy means , let alone what poo has to do with some PhD students thesis or whatever. So fear not. We're not all high level intellectual brainy types. I'll tell you what does connect people here with people in the pub - we're all human, we all hurt, some of us are parents, some of are not.....we all suffer from the human condition. Read some of the more accessible threads. I agree that this one may have got a wee bit too esoteric for some, me included.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I agree on the ass vs arse thing, Suze.

    I say there's room for both, goldarnit. Why limit ourselves?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    David, please do post some stories from the pub when you get a moment. Story does a great job of connecting ideas with action.

    However, the type of conversation you get in some forums like Your Views bears out what Kracklite said:

    sounds attached as labels to various phenomena without any actual comprehension of the concepts and signification.

    Or in pub talk, people talking shit.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Suze, the only problem I have with "arse" is that I now involuntarily hear Paul Henry over-enunciating the "r" as if he came from
    Southland or Samoa rather than Diane Foreman's boudoir. Shudder.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    To be fair Craig, your examples all depict Thatcher in positions of power & authority, something she was never accused of lacking. It demonstrates at least a degree of respect for the woman.

    Steve Bell routinely depicted Bush & Blair as the Chimp with his lapdog - the unintelligent with the unimportant. Little in the way of respect there!

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 574 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    sounds attached as labels to various phenomena without any actual comprehension of the concepts and signification.

    Or in pub talk, people talking shit.

    ...yes, maybe I do need subtitles to translate the academese.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    maybe I do need subtitles to translate the academese

    Meh. I use the academic stuff and be damned. The alternative is talking down to people because I think they're not clever enough. Which leaves a very nasty taste in my mouth.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    "The Romantic Sublime and The Silence of the Lambs" may seem like a too-accurate parody of pretentious postmodernism, but actually I have found that I could talk to students about the Byronic anti-hero and get blank looks and then get appreciative nods when I brought up Hannibal Lecter and related him to Dracula as an example of the charismatic nominal villain whom one wants to see get away with their crimes. So, yeah... just have to mix the language and examples I guess.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    I've enjoyed the term 'poo label' as much as anyone, but 'snarl word' is a useful alternative that avoids scat yet captures the essential nastiness perfectly. Seen it widely used at religioustolerance.org and elsewhere. Jus' sayin.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    Thatcher actually 'Butched up' for the job as PM. Her voice was deepened from her more femine tones as an MP to the deeper tones as PM.

    And really didn't her hubby get the worse of any sexism?

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And I'm not the only one to have this opinion. Here's a second opinion from a Randian on Objectivist Living (I'm sure you're familiar with the site):

    Mr. Perigo has misused the strongest forms of moral condemnation so often that he seems no longer capable of making relevant distinctions.

    If your fellow Randians are coming out with observations like this then you should probably be re-thinking your style.

    There's heaps more where that came from. As explained in comment here, Objectivist Living was set up by Michael Stuart Kelly after a falling-out with the Perigo faction.

    The higher-level schism is between Perigo and Barbara Branden, the author of The Passion of Ayn Rand. Branden's husband Nathaniel is supposed to have had an affair with Rand -- or not, if (like Perigo) you believe the contention of James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics that the Brandens mischaracterised their relationship with Rand and should therefore be excommunicated.

    There got to be so much schisming a couple of years ago that some wag came up with The Official SoloSchism Form Letter, to make denunciations easier and more convenient. It's quite funny, and clearly targeted at Perigo.

    There's further amusement here, including this quote from an "ex-Objectivist":

    The only other thing I can say about the Club's obsession with excommunicating people is that it strikes me as an initiation ritual of sorts--like how the Cosa Nostra makes you whack a guy to "make your bones." It's also an obvious way of generating false self-esteem, which is something I see a lot of in O's. After all, most of their lives revolve around taking credit for the work of a dead philosopher who in turn borrowed heavily without attribution.

    And another one here:

    Jesus H. Christ in a chicken basket. You people can't even see that you have become living parodies, can you?

    Following this thing could, I can see, become addictive ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Less Cosa Nostra than Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea, surely? ("Don't call me Shirley")

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

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