An assortment of presumably minor left-statist American figures have been howling about Milo Yiannopulis getting his book published, presumably deciding that they should not just give Milo more publicity, but given that they are of the ilk Milo targets, they should endorse his book by loudly reacting with horror to it. To be honest I have no idea who the hell Judd Apatow or Sarah Silverman actually are, and I cannot be bothered to even stick their names in DuckDuckGo to find out, but the fact they are annoyed by Milo means I doubt I would care to invite them around for a G&T.
2016 has been a momentous year, the most earthshaking event being Brexit in my opinion. Trump is ‘interesting’ but ultimately the underpinning structure of the USA today will be more or less the same when Trump leaves office. Like all presidents, he is a transitory political figure. He may (or may not) prove to be a significant player in the on-going culture wars, but we will just have to wait and see.
Brexit on the other hand, like it or loath it, fundamentally changes the ground rules in the UK, and it may take some time before we understand what that shockwave has actually shaken loose. It presents dangers and opportunities for friends of liberty in almost equal measure.
Yes it really has been an interesting year and I suspect the impending one will be filled with ‘interesting times’.
So allow me to wish readers of Samizdata a prosperous and hopefully freer new year in 2017. Let us not be unduly careful out there 😀
Merry Christmas. Strange to think that utterance might be seen as politically loaded these days, with some demanding the anodyne Happy Holidays instead, because Christmas is exclusionary.
I may not be a believer myself, but I am well aware that today is not some random day off work with no particular meaning, a context-free occasion when people inexplicably eat too much and have nightmarish encounters with family members who can be safely avoided for the rest of the year.
No, bollocks to that, it is a Christian holiday called… Christmas.
So as a staunch believer in the merits of appropriating whatever bits of someone else’s culture I wish to, have a Merry Christmas!
Nothing however beats the BBC’s coverage. They are reporting Castro’s death more favourably than Thatcher’s. No ‘controversial’. No mention of the thousands summarily executed after the revolution. No mention that he demanded the USSR nuke the USA. No mention of the decades of impoverishment and human rights abuse. No mention of his secret police rounding up homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps. Castro gets a free pass on democratic norms – “his critics accused him of being a dictator”. Does the BBC think that is only an allegation? Particular congratulations to the BBC News Channel, who interviewed “Cuba expert” Richard Gott, without mentioning he was a KGB agent of influence. Slow clap.
… this rant is one of the best bits of political and social analysis I have seen in years. To quote from Wikipedia:
But seriously, this is awesome. This time he is talking (mostly) about US politics and society.
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.
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