As he often does, Trump specifically said that people don’t have respect for President Obama.
“The first thing you have to do is get them to respect the West and respect us. And if they’re not going to respect us it’s never going to work. This has been going on for a long time,” he said. “I don’t think you can do anything and I don’t think you’re going to be successful unless they respect you. They have no respect for our president and they have no respect for our country right now.”
Yes, there's only one way to make the rest of the world respect the US, and that's to elect Donald Trump. Ask anyone.
I did two years of Russian between the ages of 14 and 15, but since I never used it again I assumed I'd forgotten everything. When we were in Berlin tI did two years of Russian between the ages of 14 and 15, but since I never used it again I assumed I'd forgotten everything. When we were in Berlin this summer, we however passed a Russian bookshop, and I persuaded Not that we had to go in and look around. Twenty minutes later, we walked out again with a chess book, a monograph on Alekhine's Defense. I figured it would be enough to read the moves, but to my surprise I found after a while that I could understand some of the words too. Our Russian friend K encouraged me to continue and even gave me a Russian children's book as a present. This was too hard; but I figured that if I did my usual thing and began by reading Le petit prince, maybe things would carry on falling into place.
Well, I've now finished it and I'm still not quite sure if it's working. I did what I always do and just read it without looking anything up. Normally, I figure I'll guess plenty of words, partly through knowing the story very well and partly through comparing with languages I already know. This works fine for Germanic and Romance languages. For example, here's what I see when I look at a random passage in the Catalan edition (I don't know Catalan, and my Spanish is very poor). Underneath the Catalan, I put in the sorta-French I'm guessing:
Súbitamente el geûgrafo se sintiû emocionado: Soudainement le géographe se sentait émotioné
-Pero... ¡tú vienes de muy lejos! Mais ... tu viens de très loin!
¡Tú eres un explorador! Vas a describirme tu planeta. Tu es explorateur! Décris-moi ta planète.
Y el geûgrafo abriendo su regìstro afilû su lápiz. Et le géographe en ouvrant son registre affilé son crayon.
Los relatos de los exploradores se escriben primero con lápiz. Les histoires des explorateurs s'écrivent d'abord avec crayon.
Se espera que el explorador presente sus pruebas para pasarlos a tinta. On espère que l'explorateur présente ses preuves pour les passer en encre.
It's pretty easy because my French is okay, I know a bit of Spanish, and in general I'm familiar with the principles of Romance languages.
But when I try to do the same thing in Russian, it's a whole lot harder. I don't have a good stepping-stone, since I don't know any Slavic languages, so I have to go all the way back to English. All the same, it's not impossible. Taking another randomly chosen passage from the Russian version, here's where I am right now:
- А что ты будешь делать здесь, на Земле? - And what you will do here, on Earth?
- Я поссорился со своим цветком, - признался Маленький принц. - I ?quarrelled? with my flower, - ?confessed? Little prince.
- А, вот оно что... - A, ? ? what...
И оба умолкли. And ? ?were-silent?
- А где же люди? - And where people?
- вновь заговорил наконец Маленький принц. - ?again? said at-last Little prince
- В пустыне все-таки одиноко... - In desert ?so-all? alone...
- Среди людей тоже одиноко, - заметила змея. - ?Among? people ?also? alone, - ?replied? snake.
Writing this down, I feel encouraged; I've definitely made progress. But I'm guessing so many words, and there are still so many words I can't even guess, and I can't appreciate the poetry of the book at all. I think I will read it again and see how much more I pick up on the second pass, then I will have another shot at Про Ёжика и Медвежонка... ...more
"And now," said Willy Wonka, "we're going to see something extra special... my Metaphorical Candy Room!" He flung open the doors, and the five childre
"And now," said Willy Wonka, "we're going to see something extra special... my Metaphorical Candy Room!" He flung open the doors, and the five children peeked inside. Augustus Gloop beamed with delight.
"That's the BIGGEST BOWL OF SKITTLES I'VE EVER SEEN!" he yelled.
"Indeed it is, indeed it is," said Willy Wonka proudly. "Three point three million of them! One for every Muslim in the United States! But, before you eat any, I must warn you... some of them are POISONED!"
"How many?" asked Violet Beauregarde.
"Only three," said Willy Wonka. "But you wouldn't want to take chances, would you?"
Augustus, who had been on the point of helping himself to some skittles, pulled his hand back.
"What's that over there?" asked Charlie. The children turned round. Behind them was an even bigger bowl of candy!
"Ah, those are my Deplorable Mints," said Willy Wonka. "One for every racist, bigot, white supremacist and neo-Nazi in the country! Don't they look delicious!"
They certainly did. Augustus reached out his hand again.
"Unfortunately," said Willy Wonka, "I have to admit that some of THEM are poisoned too. Very few of course. But we can't be too careful, can we?"
"So we aren't getting any candy?" asked Augustus. He looked terribly disappointed.
"Not until you understand p-values," said Willy Wonka. "Hurry up! We'll be late for the Statistical Sweets!" ...more
I used to be, as they say, a person of some consequence, but now I spend most of my time on Goodreads. What? Oh, I worked for an American organizationI used to be, as they say, a person of some consequence, but now I spend most of my time on Goodreads. What? Oh, I worked for an American organization which provided experts for hire. At significantly elevated rates, it goes without saying. Reliable expertise carries a high market value, that was our business model. Let me tell you about one job I performed. A Spanish government agency wished to discontinue funding of a software project, why I don't know. Some internal feud, perhaps. They required an unimpeachable opinion to quote, so I had been brought in as an external evaluator. I was politely told in advance that my evaluation was expected to be negative. My contact assured me that he would keep the meeting as short as possible, in the interests of everyone concerned.
I went in and shook hands with the representative of the project. I could see he had been up all night trying to improve his system's performance. I allowed him to show me the app for a few minutes. The contact man looked at me. In a neutral tone, and, in English, I explained that the project was not using the currently fashionable architecture or evaluation methodology; it was hard not to feel that this raised serious doubts. The contact man translated. "But he doesn't even know Spanish," the victim said helplessly; the contact man replied; a minute later, we were shaking hands again and leaving. The next day, my boss told me the client had been pleased with my performance.
After I discovered Goodreads, I began to feel that software projects were insufficiently challenging. Instead of giving bland opinions on code, I could use my own words to judge the accumulated output of the world's writers, from Homer to the present day. The response was also more interesting. A curt and eloquent dismissal of Joyce or Dostoyevsky would produce satisfying howls of protest from the soi-disant intellectuals, and a comment thread that could yield a whole morning of amusement. But after a while, this too palled. I found that there are only a limited number of ways to disturb a highbrow reader's sense of literary appropriateness; I began to move my reading steadily downmarket, to vulgar and poorly executed novels which readers actually seemed to care about.
Soon I had touched bottom and found the rich stratum of authors with accounts on the site. People claim, without much conviction, that they care deeply about To the Lighthouse; they may believe in all honesty that they care about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. But there is no doubt at all that they care about their own books. It was extraordinary easy to manipulate these authors' vanity, first raising up their hopes with an appreciative comment and then hitting them with a bluntly insulting one-star review. If they dared object - I was surprised to see how many did - it was then the work of an hour to assemble dozens or even hundreds of other reviewers, who would mock and scorn them as "badly behaved authors", adding their own insulting reviews. I know, one can hardly call my career a glorious one; but no doubt you have similar crimes on your conscience.
Every author, I learned, longs to find the ideal reader who will read them as they know they should be read, who will understand all the things they wished to say but could not express. They search for the ideal reader, but all they find are critics. I think there has only been one ideal reader, two thousand years ago. He looked past the surface of the book and saw the true book inside, the book so deeply hidden that even the author could not see it. Naturally the critics found him intolerable and put him to death. Later, people felt that they had to write a book about the ideal reader. It is a confused and poorly structured book, full of inconsistencies and non-sequiturs. It is still the best book yet written.
I could continue, but it is nearly midnight. I do not think I will tell you any more about my life. Instead, I suggest we walk across the bridge into the Vieille Ville, past the art galleries and antiquarian bookshops. Another one closed down just last week. I want to see them before it is too late....more
Despite lacking their most famous player - Señor P. Bear, who else? - Peru played brilliantly in the just-concluded Chess Olympiad and made the top te
Despite lacking their most famous player - Señor P. Bear, who else? - Peru played brilliantly in the just-concluded Chess Olympiad and made the top ten. Congratulations to all my Peruvian friends! ...more
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, se
“You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive, hateful, mean-spirited rhetoric. Now some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”
I don't get it. People keep calling Hillary a liar, apparently because she tells about a tenth as many lies as Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump. So now she makes a special effort to be truthful and say exactly what's on her mind, and she gets even more criticism.
I suppose the problem is that Hillary hasn't been straightforward enough. She still sounds too much like a DC insider, doesn't she? Perhaps a clip from The Blues Brothers can help her improve her phrasing next time she wants to make this particular point.
- Excuse me sir, I'm a representative of the Kong campaign. I wonder if I could have a few minutes of your time.
- Sure you can, young fellow. Sure you- Excuse me sir, I'm a representative of the Kong campaign. I wonder if I could have a few minutes of your time.
- Sure you can, young fellow. Sure you can. Come right in.
- Thank you sir. Now if you don't mind, I'd like to ask who you're intending to vote for.
- Well, this year I can't say I like either of the candidates too much. But I'm kind of leaning towards Godzilla.
- And may I ask why you prefer Mr. Godzilla, sir?
- To be honest, young man, I just don't feel comfortable with the idea of a President who abducts women and carries them to the tops of high buildings.
- Sir, the monster you are referring to is Mr. Bill Kong. The one standing for President is his wife, Mrs. Hillary Rodham Kong.
- Is that so, young man, is that so. It's getting harder and harder to keep track of everything. But I still don't feel that Mrs. Kong is an honest giant ape.
- Sir, on the subject of honesty, have you read anything about the ongoing Godzilla University class action suit?
- I'm not rightly sure about that, young man.
- Sir, if you look at this fact sheet, you'll see that Godzilla University promised to give each of its clients the secret of radioactive killer breath in exchange for $35,000. But in reality, all they received was an extra hot pepperoni pizza.
- Well, young man, I see I'll have to look into this. But there's also the matter of Mrs. Kong's email server.
- Sir, Mrs. Kong acknowledges that she was at fault in using an insecure server. On the other hand, Mr. Godzilla has burned three Japanese cities to the ground.
- Young man, I have to tell you that I've voted Republican all my life. I was hoping to vote for Bambi in this election. I was very disappointed when Mr. Godzilla stepped on him in the primaries.
- Yes sir. I understand sir. I won't take impose on you any longer.
- I know you mean well, young man. Maybe I will vote for Mothra instead.
- I'm sure you'll make a good decision sir. Thank you again for your time. Goodbye sir.
CHORUS: No one can deny that these are difficult times
-to our credit putting all that aside We have swallowed our pride
CHORUS: These are very dangerous and difficult times
It really doesn't matter who comes out on top Who gets the chop No one's way of life is threatened By a flop
But we're gonna smash their bastard Make him wanna change his name Take him to the cleaners and devastate him Wipe him out, humiliate him We don't want the whole world saying They can't even win a game We have never reckoned on coming second There's no use in Losin'
Americans! They're all the same, aren't they? Overweight, ignorant and self-important... that goes without saying. But the worst thing about them is tAmericans! They're all the same, aren't they? Overweight, ignorant and self-important... that goes without saying. But the worst thing about them is the racial stereotyping. Ask an American what Mexicans are like, and they'll immediately reply that they're rapists and murderers. Ask them about Muslims, and they'll say they're fanatical terrorists who think all women should be sex slaves. And then they'll start telling you that Donald Trump is right, he's the only person who can fix the problem.
Yes, that's how Americans are, each and every one of them. Doesn't it make you sick?
"At the end of four years, when I am up for reelection as Führer in 1947, I guarantee you that I will get 95 percent of the Jewish vote. I promise you"At the end of four years, when I am up for reelection as Führer in 1947, I guarantee you that I will get 95 percent of the Jewish vote. I promise you. In fact, why be modest. I will get 100%. I know now that they will both vote for me." ______________________
This just in: the Goodreads recommendation engine has decided I'm a neo-Nazi. Okay, okay, I guess it's all my fault really... ______________________
Alright Goodreads, I get the point. I've already apologised. There's no need to rub it in. ...more
"Mr. Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump, tonight I'm asking you to do a 180 degree flip and start courting the votes of non-white people instead of demonizing"Mr. Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump, tonight I'm asking you to do a 180 degree flip and start courting the votes of non-white people instead of demonizing them. What do you have to lose by trying something new? Your strategy's not working, you're behind in all the swing states, you have no staff, 65% of the country hates you, what the hell do you have to lose?"
Well, that's what I told him the other day. But I was still kind of surprised he bought it. ...more
I understand that this book is an outrageous concoction of lies, and that there is in particular no substance to the cla[Original review, Aug 22 2016]
I understand that this book is an outrageous concoction of lies, and that there is in particular no substance to the claim that Melania Trump worked as an escort when she first arrived in the US. Why a recent article in the Slovenian magazine Suzy would repeat these slanders, which, I repeat, contain not a scintilla of truth, is beyond me. And I can quite understand why the fragrant Mrs. Trump would be suing the Daily Mail over this piece. Shame on everyone concerned!
On thinking it over further, though, I wonder if this isn't part of a coherent strategy, as opposed to just being a random smear. I don't see much evidence that Melania was ever a hooker. But I see plenty of evidence that she was originally an illegal immigrant. Her stories about having to go back to Slovenia every few months "to get her visa stamped" make no sense. I've worked on an H-1B visa myself, and there is no such requirement.
So maybe the plan is to make accusations about her so outrageous that she has to sue, which she has now done. She may very well be able to show there's no substance to the claim that she was once a call-girl. But in the course of doing that, embarrassing facts about her employment status at the time may also come out.
This election is really getting dirty. And still two and a half more months to go... I'm sure we haven't reached bottom yet. ______________________ [Update, Sep 2 2016]
Wondering aloud the other day whether anyone could be more sexist, dishonest, frightening or just plain unpleasant than Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump, IWondering aloud the other day whether anyone could be more sexist, dishonest, frightening or just plain unpleasant than Lyin' Crooked Donald Trump, I was told to read this book. But now that the two of them have joined forces, the question has perhaps become academic. ...more
When the children have been good That is, be it understood, Good at killing, good at lying, Good at on each other spying When their fourteen Pas and Mas GrWhen the children have been good That is, be it understood, Good at killing, good at lying, Good at on each other spying When their fourteen Pas and Mas Grandmammas and Grandpapas Great grandparents too are sure That their Aryan stock is pure They shall have the pretty things Krupp Von Bohlen kindly brings.
(The whole thing is available here. Thank you Matt for telling me about this!)...more
By day, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll mouths platitudes about trickledown economics in front of a teleprompter while vaguely apologizing. By night, theBy day, the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll mouths platitudes about trickledown economics in front of a teleprompter while vaguely apologizing. By night, the demoniacal Mr. Hyde stands in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoots people. Will the US electorate realize what's happening before it's too late? ...more
On First Reading Catherine MacKinnon, or, A Middle-Aged White Dude Mansplains Feminist Theory
Before I started this book, I expected it to be a polemicOn First Reading Catherine MacKinnon, or, A Middle-Aged White Dude Mansplains Feminist Theory
Before I started this book, I expected it to be a polemic. I was surprised to discover that it is actually a work of philosophy. It has its roots in Marxism - which, unfortunately, I don't know at all - but quickly branches out into its own direction.
I can see from the other reviewers that not everyone likes the idea of starting with Marxism, but the author makes it seem logical. Marxism, as even I know, is centered on the concept of work. Simplifying to a kindergarten level, some social classes work, and other social classes get the benefit of that work, which one intuitively feels is wrong. In the book's memorable opening sentence, MacKinnon tells us that sexuality is to feminism what work is to Marxism: that which is most one's own, yet most taken away. Again simplifying to a kindergarten level, men fuck women. Some of the women may want to be fucked, but a great many of them don't, yet get fucked anyway. And once more, one intuitively feels that this is wrong.
MacKinnon starts off in the first part of the book by explaining why a coherent analysis doesn't work inside a Marxist framework. Marx and Engels, it seems, had confused ideas about gender roles. She then gives her own analysis, which I found extremely interesting. I can't decide yet whether I'm prepared to buy it, but it certainly passes my test for what constitutes worthwhile philosophy: it forced me to think about things in a new way. MacKinnon's analysis of feminism doesn't center on the concept of class, but rather on the concept of "objectification". Although the word is one that's frequently bandied about, I was surprised to discover that I apparently didn't know what it meant. I'd naively imagined it meant the process of reducing women to sex objects. This is a part of it, but in fact the idea is much more wide-ranging.
So what is "objectification"? It turns out that it's intimately connected to "objectivity", and to the process of "objective thinking". In another memorable passage, MacKinnon summarizes the key connections as follows:
Objectivity is the methodological stance of which objectification is the social process. Sexual objectification is the primary process of the subjection of women. It unites act with word, construction with expression, perception with enforcement, myth with reality. Man fucks woman; subject verb object.
What does this mean? I'm still not sure I get it - but right now, here's how I would paraphrase her claim. "Objectivity", or "objective thought", is sold as the process by which one understands the world in a way that is independent of the observer, and in particular of the gender of the observer. It is supposed to be the way one understands the world as it is. If one is not objective, one is at best subjective and at worst delusional.
The problem is that "objective" thought doesn't in fact give a picture of the world that is independent of the identity and gender of the observer. It gives a picture of the world as understood by men, since it has been developed by men. In particular, it gives a picture of sexuality and gender as understood by men. This includes the ideas that what is sexy is what men find sexy; what is appropriate or normal in sexual relationships is what men consider appropriate or normal in sexual relationships; what actually happens during sexual relationships is what men consider happens during sexual relationships. So, for example, since men eroticise dominance and submission and find it sexy to be dominant, women must objectively find it sexy to be submissive; since men obtain sexual pleasure from vaginal penetration, women must objectively get sexual pleasure from being vaginally penetrated; since men enjoy pornography and do not consider that it infringes anybody's civil rights, pornography cannot objectively infringe anybody's civil rights; since men consider than women are often fantasizing when they claim that they have been raped and abused, women have objectively not been raped and abused in these situations; since the law, which has been almost entirely constructed by men, considers that women are treated equally, women are objectively treated equally.
I find a great deal of this convincing, but I still have trouble accepting the whole system. In particular, I have trouble accepting the idea that objective thought is a bad thing, which seems to be what she's saying here. I absolutely agree that what people call objective thought may not be objective at all. But what is the real alternative to objectivity? Surprisingly often, she mentions quantum mechanics; she suggests that male thought is classical, referring to an objective reality, while female thought is quantum mechanical, referring to a reality which depends on the observer. I don't feel very happy with this line of reasoning. It's a rather naive characterization of quantum mechanics, which doesn't deny the existence of an objective reality, just the possibility of directly observing it; second, sexual relations occur in the macro-world, where quantum-level phenomena are not relevant. If it's just an analogy, then what is the thing that's analogous to quantum mechanics? Why is there no reality that can be directly observed, even in principle? And I'm also doubtful about the wider implications of her analysis of sex. She frequently objects to the eroticisation of dominance and submission, and says this is essentially male; but at the same time, she says that men find some element of dominance and submission essential to sex, even if they are the submissive partner, and that lesbian couples also find dominance and submission sexy. She never really says what the alternative is. What is this female form of sex, where dominance and submission play no part?
So I'm to some degree sceptical, which is my usual response to philosophy - but at the same time, I find the questions being asked both intellectually fascinating and of burning importance. Professor MacKinnon, you've convinced me that I need to learn more about feminism. I'm going to look around for further reading. ...more