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Everything posted by Chinahand

  1. Some of the jokes: Ah absurdities!
  2. Reasonably interesting article concerning Ricky Gervais's jokes about trans gender issues and Robin Ince's criticism such jokes enable the "alt-right". https://sknight.substack.com/p/comedy-ricky-gervais-robin-ince-gender
  3. Rushdie also had an hoped for solution: The really important conversations I had in this period were with myself. I said: Salman, you must send a message loud enough to . . . make ordinary Muslims see that you aren't their enemy, and you must make the West understand a little more of the complexity of Muslim culture . . ., and start thinking a little less stereotypically. . . . And I said to myself: Admit it, Salman, the Story of Islam has a deeper meaning for you than any of the other grand narratives. Of course you're no mystic, mister and when you said ‘I am not a Muslim’ that is what you meant. . . . No supernaturalism, no literalist orthodoxies no formal rules for you. But Islam doesn't have to mean blind faith. It can mean what it always meant in your family, a culture, a civilization, as open-minded as your grandfather was, as delightedly disputatious as your father was, as intellectual and philosophical as you like. Don't let the zealots make Muslim a terrifying word, I urged myself; remember when it meant family. I reminded myself that I had always argued that it was necessary to develop the nascent concept of the "secular Muslim," who, like the secular Jew, affirmed his membership of the culture while being separate from the theology.
  4. In the West it is called the Enlightenment.
  5. You can listen to Salman speaking about what it is like to have the boot of intolerance on your neck here: https://www.wnyc.org/story/239518-one-thousand-days-salman-rushdie-columbia-1991/ Or read a transcript here: https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/99/04/18/specials/rushdie-address.html?_r=2 For many people, I've ceased to be a human being. I've become an issue, a bother, an "affair." . . . And has it really been so long since religions persecuted people, burning them as heretics, drowning them as witches, that you can't recognize religious persecution when you see it? . . . What is my single life worth? Despair whispers in my ear: "Not a lot." But I refuse to give in to despair . . . because . . . I know that many people do care, and are appalled by the . . . upside-down logic of the post- fatwa world, in which a . . . novelist can be accused of having savaged or "mugged" a whole community, becoming its tormentor (instead of its . . . victim) and the scapegoat for . . . its discontents. . . . (What minority is smaller and weaker than a minority of one?) I refuse to give in to despair even though, for a thousand days and more, I've been put through a degree course in worthlessness, my own personal and specific worthlessness. My first teachers were the mobs marching down distant boulevards, baying for my blood, and finding, soon enough, their echoes on English streets. . . . At first, as I watched the marchers, I felt them trampling on my heart.
  6. SMUJ's point about wokery is echoed here. The "I am offended, you shall shut up" mob are a genuine issue in society.
  7. As ever Hitch sums up the affair with his customary aplom: When the Washington Post telephoned me at home on Valentine's Day 1989 to ask my opinion about the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwah, I felt at once that here was something that completely committed me. It was, if I can phrase it like this, a matter of everything I hated versus everything I loved. In the hate column: dictatorship, religion, stupidity, demagogy, censorship, bullying, and intimidation. In the love column: literature, irony, humor, the individual, and the defense of free expression. Plus, of course, friendship though I like to think that my reaction would have been the same if I hadn't known Salman at all. To re-state the premise of the argument again: the theocratic head of a foreign despotism offers money in his own name in order to suborn the murder of a civilian citizen of another country, for the offense of writing a work of fiction. No more root-and-branch challenge to the values of the Enlightenment (on the bicentennial of the fall of the Bastille) or to the First Amendment to the Constitution, could be imagined. President George H.W. Bush, when asked to comment, could only say grudgingly that, as far as he could see, no American interests were involved...
  8. Really sad, and pretty angry about the attack on Salman Rushdie. Peace and recovery to him. Ah the merchants of terror with their violent demands to cower before their offence. Contemptable little minds who's only response to anything they cannot countenance is killing. No one has a right not to be offended and to use being offended as a reason for violence is a sure sign of a culture on the wrong side of history.
  9. I hope this is a useful contribution to the debate. https://michaelshermer.substack.com/p/what-is-a-woman-anyway
  10. We can all get very earnest but the simple issue is that people are complex and there's nowt as queer as folk. We live in an age which is uncomfortable with certain forms of caricaturing ridiculing humour despite the clear evidence over literally centuries (Punch cartoons of the Prince Regent anyone) that such tropes are not only entertaining but also thought provocative and widen the social space. Drag fits perfectly within this tradition playing with, exaggerating & extenuating the worst stereotypes of femininity with a typical male sexism to create something... well entertaining provoking disturbing fun silly challenging. Long may it continue. My main misunderstanding with trans issues is trying to understand the focus on biological organs and replacing them with fakes crudely carved into flesh or filled with silicone - this is not real. To me it is the essence of fake and deception: the opposite of an openness and understanding of nuance which I hope I can understand better. Nothing intrinsically exists other than the Dao 道 and our flawed attempts to develop associations and explanations about it which inevitably are incomplete disruptions of its whole. But biological sex is a useful concept. The words men and women, male & female, masculine & feminine are meaningful. There is huge overlap within these terms but also genuine difference and some aspects of our society usefully uses the extremes of these differences. Males & females differ in skills and what is merely difficult for one can be exceptional for the other, hence divisions in sports etc. There has to be a place for trans athletes in sports but this mustn't pretend real differences don't matter or don't confer an unfair advantage. Denying that is counter productive. On spaces I'm pretty liberal. Behave with decorum and with empathy towards others using the space and I think all genders and sexes can get along. Behave inappropriately and you will be asked to leave. Surely this is a reasonable compromise? All spaces need to consider safeguarding and the consequences if things go wrong and I don't think this prohibits single sex spaces and there having a reasonable compromise with trans. Hey ho all too earnest... Here's to Mrs Doughtfire, "being a lady", and the shocking entertainment of Ricky Gervais as well as empathy and nuance in dealing with all the complexity people and society brings.
  11. https://youtu.be/euqEEN8W_Kw More nuanced than modern sensibilities assume.
  12. Not sure I agree with this... but it sums up the rhetoric prevalent in US politics at the moment.
  13. The assassination of Shinzo Abe is a pretty incredible event. He's Japan's equivalent to Blair or Thatcher. Polarising, but a dominating political voice over a generation. Nutter, nationalist, right-winger, left-winger - the motives and politics of the assassin will be debated for a long time. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-53938094
  14. His big ideas/slogans resonate, but his slovenly lack detail, defence of the indefensible and inability to understand that truth matters have sunk him. His cabinet and advisors needed to be gritty eyed doers to get his big ideas done, but too often he chose to have around him fellow sloganeers and people just as willing as he to let things slide. And so slide they did. And all he could do was, with his pants rapidly on fire, to claim they had not as the conflagration his lying had ignited spread throughout his government. Goodness ... who's next? Buggins?
  15. John it is a little difficult when you've been presented with a proof showing you are incorrect in saying the path is a 1/4 of a circumference in length, especially when you say things like in "practical reality". The flies paths are perpendicular to the other flies, not to a fixed circle. A work colleague modelled it using matlab. Here's his result (twisted 45 degrees from mine): The path isn't an arc of a fixed circle - as Declan says it is a spiral heading into the centre of the square such that he path lengths are of length S when they meet in the centre. The assumptions are unrealistic - constant speed no matter the radius of turn, instant path correction - but tweaking these, ie slowing the flies down as they corner more sharply and adding in reaction times, won't transform the answer into what you are visualising. At the very start, your intuition is exactly right, each fly is flying tangential to a circle radius S, but as the fly chases its target fly that circle's radius decreases. Ah, thinking about it, that is the issue - they fly tangentially to an ever decreasing circle, not to a fixed one. Does that help explaining why your initial answer was incorrect?
  16. Four flies are each on the four corners of a square (A,B,C,D) with side length S. At the same moment they all take off flying towards the next fly (A towards B, B towards C etc). They all fly at a constant speed and always travel straight towards their target fly. When they meet, how far has each fly flown? Please show your workings!
  17. Abortion should be legal safe & rare. That requires a well functioning health and family planning system, education and sensible politicians. Hardly surprising that the US cannot manage it.
  18. It is a moronic cartoon that in no way characterises reality. If the cartoon was Putin swearing about all those bribes and tennis games coming to naught then it would be closer to reality, but the simple fact is Russia's influence operations have not succeeded in stopping Johnson being one of the most hawkish callers for Russia's military defeat and for the providing of long range weapons to achieve this. Sholtz on the other hand ... That little pipeline has made him much more cautious about getting out the big bazooka.
  19. That is so out of kilter with reality. Johnson & the Prime Minister of Poland are the primary hawks on arming Ukraine. Germany's Sholtz is being far more cautious delaying and delaying supplying heavier weaponry. But I suppose let's not let reality interfer with lazy presumptions.
  20. Thanks John for being such a valuable member of this community. You've put many hours into ensuring the forums are safe from legal challenges and from the blowback that posters can bring when they post controversial things. Thanks for being a mod, a most thankless task. Enjoy retirement and hope you come on here and post some good stuff, to provoke some thought and response, comfort the afflicted, afflict the comfortable and make the mods who succeed you wish you were still a gamekeeper & not some trouble free poacher who's enjoyed a glass or two of wine! 😉
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