Liberty, Guns, Beer & Totty.
Finally it all makes perfect sense.
On an errand today I had cause to walk through town carrying an enormous Nerf gun. I joked with a colleague about whether I would get arrested. He said it would be fine as long as I did not paint it black.
Then I spotted this in a report about Gamescom, a large computer games convention:
It might not mean much, but it means something.
In the Nerf gun section of the toy shop I overheard one parent telling a child he was not allowed guns, and a separate conversation in which a woman was telling her friend, “some parents don’t let their kids play with Nerf guns. I don’t know why. It’s not as if you get terrorists walking around with them.”
It might not mean much, but it means something.
… I have returned from Istanbul and never have I seen a city with more cats. And in spite of many being feral, they are well fed and friendly. One of these days I hope to see if there is some way to see a return of the smite cats to samizdata (long standing readers will know what I am babbling about).
So un-smittting should be a bit faster now.
Regular commenter Niall Kilmartin started writing this poem as part of the Erdogan poetry competition but found his thoughts turning in a different direction:
A Poem of Two Chancellors
These two lines made the poem for me:
Over-fearful? I would be glad to think so. I usually do think so. But the quickest of internet searches throws up recent news stories like this one from Spiegel Online International, “Skepticism of German-Israeli Friendship Growing in Berlin”, and this one from Deutsche Welle (DW), “Immigrants Beyond the Law”. The latter story says that migrants from warzones such as Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are not particularly criminal but says, ‘It is a completely different story with immigrants from Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia though. “Activity quotas” for North Africans are no less than 40 percent.’ Wow. You would never guess from the strapline and first few paragraphs of the DW story that it contained such a statistic as that. Such evasion is typical and does much to increase mistrust.
As linked to by two different posters at Instapundit and semi-reformed Trekkies everywhere, Paramount Pictures, in the course of a claim against the makers of a film set in the Star Trek universe, are claiming to own the copyright on the Klingon language. Thirty years ago linguist Marc Okrand was hired to take the snatches of made-up Klingon dialogue in the early Star Trek movies and flesh them out into a useable language. This he did. The idea took off and all sorts of people since then have learned Klingon to some degree for fun and intellectual stimulation.
A press release from the Language Creation Society says,
Marc Randazza’s diverting amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Language Creation society is here.
I’m not going to do it. I AM NOT going to do it. I am not going to say “Qapla’!”
Except I just did. You will have deduced that I am sympathetic to one side of the case. But there is another. Property rights matter. Why should a bunch of flakes and dilettantes reap what another sowed? Why shouldn’t they pay a fee, in person or under licence, for the privilege of using Klingon just as they pay, directly or indirectly, to use a computer program? Let’s discuss this like Klingons. Which need not necessarily mean with a bat’leth.
I have met Bill, and he is splendid chap to put it mildly. But I clearly need to watch him more closely because a few days ago he revealed himself to be a man of hitherto unguessed talents. He is a… rapper!
Claire Lehmann describes some of the work of contrarian social psychologist Lee Jussim:
So, it would appear that “we” make use of stereotypes exactly as I make use of stereotypes (or as I try to), as crude first approximations, rather than as the last word. Bigotry, it has always seemed to me, means not having no prejudices, but rather having prejudices which you are unwilling to alter, when faced with circumstances which do not fit your prejudices. And it seems that “we” think like that also.
Good to know. My thanks to Bishop Hill for telling me about this piece.
Having written all of the above (apart from the thanks to Bishop Hill), I see that the previous posting here is also about stereotyping.
In 1971, the United States ratified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake.
The idea, in those Vietnam War years, was that 18-year-olds, being old enough to be drafted, to marry and to serve on juries, deserved a vote. It seemed plausible at the time, and I myself have argued that we should set the drinking age at 18 for the same reasons.
But now I’m starting to reconsider. To be a voter, one must be able to participate in adult political discussions. It’s necessary to be able to listen to opposing arguments and even — as I’m doing right here in this column — to change your mind in response to new evidence.
This evidence suggests that, whatever one might say about the 18-year-olds of 1971, the 18-year-olds of today aren’t up to that task. And even the 21-year-olds aren’t looking so good.
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