This Ruthless World

Adventures in absurdity

Archive for the category “rants”

On Fidel Castro’s Death; Or, When My Fellow Liberals Insist On Losing Credibility

Berlin, Fidel Castro an der Grenze

I was waiting to calm down and process the election before I wrote anything — and then Fidel Castro died.

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Six More Things I Want Every Politically Opinionated Person To Take To Heart

Law_speakerDuring the previous presidential election cycle, I wrote a post entitled 12 Things I Want Every Politically Opinionated Person To Take To Heart, in which I discussed some of the most irritating absurdities of American politics.  Now that we are going through this thing again, here is a follow-up.

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I Can’t Believe What My Kid Is Watching, Part II: Pixar’s “Cars 2”

Part I here.

Who wrote this script — Goebbels? Read more…

Some Of The More Absurd Things A Lot Of “Smart” People Believe

Viktor Vasnetsov, I am continuing my list of remarkably inane things people say remarkably often. (Previous installments: here, here and here.) Today’s theme is smart people’s stupidity. Intellectuals can sure embrace some bizarre ideas, and through processes I can’t even begin to understand, some of those ideas enter mainstream smart people’s thought. Ideas like: Read more…

The Cruel And The Dumb Inherit The Earth, Apparently.

William Hogarth, "The Four Stages of Cruelty, Stage I" (1751)To begin with an aside, I confess I don’t care whose feefees I’m hurting when I say this: fratboys are the worst. THE. WORST. This is not a compliment. If any member of the “culture” reading this DOES regard it is a compliment, that would only be proving my point. To any predictable objections to the effect whether I shouldn’t be ranking the Nazis or Islamic terrorists as the worst, I reply with an immortal quote from The Big Lebowski: “Say what you want about National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.” Frat “ethos”, such as it is, revolves getting shitfaced, destruction of property, humiliation, sex crimes, inflicting suffering, and occasionally killing people and animals for the hell of it — for the lulz. So yes, the label “the worst” is entirely apt here. I cannot believe universities and taxpayers shell out money to subsidize this nonsense.

This story from last week is sad and horrible — all the more so because this is precisely the kind of stuff that fratboys find funny, nay, heroic. If you are too lazy to click on the link, here is the summary: some pledges from a Mississippi university broke into a zoo at night supposedly to take a picture of a flamingo for a scavenger hunt. (That’s the frat’s official story, anyway, and it’s TOTES believable — I mean, you would have to break into a zoo at night to take a picture of one of the animals, right?) Moving right along, instead of just taking a picture, these freaks went ahead and kidnapped a flamingo. The bird was found in the morning several miles away with massive internal injuries and a broken leg. Its mate back at the zoo was also found to have severe internal injuries, including ruptured organs. Both birds had to be euthanized. The apparent leader of this worthy exploit, Devin Nottis, was arrested on felony charges after bragging about it on Twitter. Read more…

More Stupid Things People Like to Say: Third Installment

John William Waterhouse, "A Tale From the Decameron" (1916)People love saying things that sound clever. Especially people who aren’t very bright. Take that combination — an intellectually mediocre person and a desire to appear “deep” — and you’ve got the perfect recipe for the birth of notions so intensely stupid, they are destined to endure forever. These are notions that end up on “inspirational” posters of sunsets and beaches. These are notions that the world’s vulgarians repeat over and over — and still think themselves not only well-informed, but original. So here is my third list of certain pearls of “wisdom” that are common as dirt — and explanations as to how they are actually idiotic. (You can find prior installments here and here). Read more…

Trayvon Martin Was A Floozie

Udo Keppler, "A Good Beginning" (1899)I haven’t commented on the George Zimmerman verdict, because there isn’t much to say that hasn’t already been said by others more eloquently than I ever could. So not to beat a dead horse, I just want to briefly point out a detail that I haven’t seen discussed, but that I find very curious: the standard justifications that “impartial” people offer for killing Trayvon Martin are eerily similar to the arguments the same kind of people usually offer in defense of rape. Nay, they aren’t similar, they are exactly the same. Read more…

The Cadaver Synod

Jean Paul Laurens, "The Cadaver Synod" (1870)If you are in the mood for some really creepy obscure trivia from the Dark Ages, how about this little tidbit: circa 897 A.D., pope Stephen VI (VII) had his predecessor, Formosus, exhumed and put on trial for perjury and various vaguely defined offenses, such as doing priestly things “while being a layman”. The rotting corpse, still in its papal vestments, was propped up on a chair, and wires were attached to the dead man’s jaws. A deacon crouched behind the defendant’s chair, and as the corpse was being asked whether he admits his guilt on each of the charges, the deacon pulled on the wires to move Formosus’ lower jaw up and down and answered “yes” in a voice meant to imitate Formosus’, like a bizarre ventriloquist act. Surprising as it may be, the trial culminated in Formosus being found guilty of all charges, stripped of his papal robes, mutilated, and dumped in a communal grave for foreigners. Later, he was dug up again and cast into the Tiber. The current pope and his advisors reasoned that this would be a good way to show everyone what a bad guy Formosus had been and how righteous his successor was. The effect, of course, was the exact opposite. In fact, the whole episode proved so damaging to the Catholic Church, it outlawed posthumous trials in the aftermath of the debacle.

But alas, the most important lesson of history is that people do not learn from history. Read more…

How Not To Be A Demagogue, Part II: Deconstructing The Emotional Appeal Fallacy Fallacy

It is a well-known fact in the legal profession that good lawyers almost never use legalese. Indeed, it’s one of the first things you learn in law school. Sure, sometimes custom and practice require arcane word formulas, but any lawyer worth his salt knows not to offer “therein’s” and what not in the body of an argument. Packing your writing or your speech with that garbage only serves to insult the court’s intelligence by signalling that you are a pretentious asshat who is using fifty-cent words to mask your lack of a good argument. If you can’t convey your point in normal, clear, non-ritualistic language, then you have no point to convey. Read more…

Quit Squawking About Valentine’s Day: A Postcard to the Outraged

Bitching about Valentine's day:  an art form since 1849.There was a time (back in the early fourteenth century) when I used to “protest” Valentine’s Day by wearing the most funereal black I could find in my mom’s closet. Most of my teenage years were embarrassingly boyfriendless, so naturally, I spent the day annoying the hell out of countless people with an umpteen-millionth account of who the real, historical St. Valentine was, and condescending banter about how stupid Valentine’s Day is. I thought it was very clever, edgy and original of me. But there came a point when I stopped doing that. You know why? Because I grew the hell up. Read more…

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