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Mr. Harmful Opinion’s favourite weapon

I thought this was particularly on the money:

This is why the culture war is in many ways the one that matters most, because everything else follows from it.

42 comments to Mr. Harmful Opinion’s favourite weapon

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Perry.

    For example there is no Commandment from on high that literature be dominated by attacks on “the rich” and “big business” – this became fashionable (among some people) in the Victorian age – and was spread.

    There was no objective reason for it – rich people had not become more greedy than they had been before and (contrary to the lies) poor people were not worse off than before.

    What happened is that certain people made it their life’s work to make leftist (for want of a better word) fashionable – and to shove literature that had different political assumptions down the memory hole.

    It did not matter if a book or play that showed business in a positive light was a best seller – it was not “good literature” it was not what people would be pointed to read or see.

    The same is true of films or television.

    From the start, some leftists were dedicated to making sure that leftist films and television shows would be made and be pushed up – and that pro “capitalism” films and television shows either would not be made, or would be pushed down.

    If the only “big business” people that the public sees are corrupt and evil – and if the public are told (over and over again) that the rich do not pay taxes and that business is unregulated…..

    Basically that capitalists-eat-babies.

    Well then, eventually, politics will reflect these attitudes.

  • Ellen

    I’m of two minds about this. First, it’s absolutely true. And second — when some arse says something arseful and somebody else takes offense — “can’t you take a joke?”

  • PersonFromPorlock

    If you want your videos watched, don’t use Flash.

  • Laird

    when some arse says something arseful and somebody else takes offense — “can’t you take a joke?”

    Yes, and your point is? If you take offense at something I say (whether it’s intended as a joke or otherwise), that’s your problem, not mine. The only proper response to “I’m offended by that” is “fuck off”.

  • Fraser Orr

    > The only proper response to “I’m offended by that” is “fuck off”.

    No it isn’t! The proper response to “I’m offended by that so it should be banned” is certainly “fuck off”, but just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean that you should. On many occasions I have said things that are offensive that on reflection I needed to apologize for and I did. I don’t think I should have been put in jail for saying it, but I do have an obligation to my friends and family to treat them with respect and with respect to their sensibilities.

    When the Westboro Baptist church tells fallen soldiers’ families that their fagotty sons are going to hell at their funerals, they most certainly should apologize for such offensive remarks, even though they should certainly have the right to say them.

    Let’s not, in our zeal for free speech, do the same as the left and confuse the public and private realms.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Paul Marks
    > If the only “big business” people that the public sees are corrupt and evil

    I have said several times here that the matrix of most of the evils in our society is the public school house. Liberalization of that through privatization is the only way in which there is any hope of the restoration of the basic ideas of libertarianism into the hearts and minds.

    I offer as an example the growing talk in the media about the “gig economy”. This is an economy that many in the world of liberarianism would wlecome with open arms, an army of small entrepreneurs building businesses around efficient marketing processes like Uber, guru.com and so forth.

    However there is a growing opposition to this among the political set, attempting to strangle the baby before it is born. And they are using the same old tried tools like “workers rights” and “protection of the innocent”. What they really mean is “easy collection of taxes” and “imposition of regulation on businesses to buy votes and extract danegeld”.

    Why did the French government fold like a wet paper bag in face of the French Taxi riots against Uber? Simply because in this matter the French government’s goals are very much aligned with the goals of the French Taxi drivers’ unions.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Perry de Havilland (London)
    July 26, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    It is YouTube, mate.

    And Flash, which has such vulnerabilities that Firefox won’t allow it.

  • Laird

    Fraser, if I have unintentionally and thoughtlessly offended a friend then of course I would apologize. But that’s not what we’re talking about here and you know it. If I say “Muhammad was a psychopathic pedophile”, or fly the confederate battle flag over my house (or choose to use a Mohammad cartoon as my gravatar), and someone claims to take offense at that, there is where the proper response is “fuck off”. Taking offense or feigning outrage is a choice, and one which far too many people are far too happy to make these days. It needs to be discouraged, forcefully, at all times.

  • And Flash, which has such vulnerabilities that Firefox won’t allow it.

    I am watching it using Firefox. You probably need to update something.

  • Kevin B

    And we need to be clear that the absolute worst manifestation of this plague of offence-taking is that carried out by someone on behalf of some other group.

    If I call someone an arsehole and he calls me a shithead and we both take offence and it’s handbags at dawn, then fine.

    But if I call someone a big poof and some third party takes offence on behalf of the entire gay community of the world and then demands that I be totally ostracised from society for the sin of homophobia then not so fine.

  • Johnnydub

    Most of YouTube now runs on HTML 5 because Flash is a piece of shit.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Help! I can’t decide whether to add to the free speech debate or the adobe flash flamewar, the turmoil between my inner libertarian and my ingrained geek is too much.

  • Rob Fisher

    I think YouTube on Firefox on Linux is a problem right now and there is information here: http://www.linuxveda.com/2015/04/02/enable-mse-native-html5-support-firefox-linux/

  • CaptDMO

    So,….How many lesbians does it take to screw in a light bulb…?

  • Rob Fisher

    Ellen’s point is addressed at 2m25s. He says comedians are useful because they say up front that they are joking, rather than use it as an excuse afterwards.

  • Ellen

    That’s not funny!

  • Julie near Chicago

    On Mac, Firefox 28.0 (yes, by choice):

    Firefox > Tools > Add-Ons > series of add-ons including Acrobat Reader and Shockwave (Adobe) Flash; each with drop-down choice: “Always Activate,” “Ask to Activate” [my pref], “Never Activate.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    PS. I don’t allow auto update of any of my software, but I do ask for instant notification from Adobe Flash Player, and when I get it I go do it myself.

  • Nicholas (Self-sovereignty) Gray

    CaptDMO, the people on Lesbos are too poor to afford lightbulbs! They would probably all have to chip in, which is a variant of a greek joke I invented a few weeks ago! Your insensitive Lesbian joke needs updating! Your Poetic Licence is being reviewed. YHBW (You Have Been Warned)

  • Julie near Chicago

    Perry is right that a great deal, at least, “follows from it.” However, one has to consider the entirety, not just the aspect with which one agrees.

    1. Do I think Martin & Lewis should have been legally punished for making entirely “comedy” movies about a reasonably normal person’s continually taking advantage of a clearly retarded one?

    Well, no. But I think it speaks volumes about the condition of the popular culture when such movies are found funny to the point that people attend them in droves. (I don’t suppose there’s the slightest possibility that they encouraged the kids of their era to believe that people whom they found somehow lacking, were fair game for picking on and making fun of.)

    Do I think Lenny Bruce or George Carlin should be jailed for being able (apparently) only to come up with “comedy” routines where every other word is an obscenity? No, but I think anyone who celebrates their “art” is basically stuck in the adolescent-rebellion stage, where all that matters is showing your Adult Independence by sticking it to Dad. Full disclosure: I did see one G.C. routine where not only did mostly he use words longer than four letters, he also made a very serious point about the English language, with which I agreed and for which I actually admired him. By the way, it wasn’t funny. I suppose the fans were disappointed.

    By the way, what do we think about “comedy” routines that throw around the “n” word as practically the main point? Do we applaud those because they go against the “authoritarians'” edicts? If so, the video’s scriptwriter, and we, should return to using the word, and to writing routines featuring it.

    2. Yes, the video talks about “authoritarians” and doesn’t mention political or philosophical viewpoints. But I will add that the Proggies and other leftists are if anything far more likely than others to announce that they’re doing “comedy” and proceed with propaganda or smears, or even with truth, but truth told in a way that purposely demeans persons or groups of persons. (For this last, such demeaning is the sin of Martin & Lewis. In this case of course it has nothing to do with political views, of course. They were just so un-classy that they thought that stuff was funny. I have to admit that it sold well. On the other hand, you have to be touchier even than I am to take offense at W.C. Field’s famous Bricklayer routine.)

    In this connection, note that the Iran regime is fighting ISIS with Hebdo- and Mad-Magazine-type cartoons ridiculing them.

    3. There is punishment and punishment. None of these people and their ilk should be legally prohibited from having their say, making their “fun” such as it is, and so on — whether in words or in art or in any other way. Nor should they be legally punished for so doing. And I shall exercise my right to say what I think of them, even if others who disagree with me find that offensive. But I do run the risk of punishment, as do they, by social means: Others may ostracize them or me, or tell them or me what just exactly what they are or I am, or pick me last for the baseball game, or not buy tickets to my crappy stand-up or TV show. This too is punishment, of course.

    4. But it isn’t only comedy. There really are times when we should put a sock on it, and times when we shouldn’t. I am absolutely 100% in support of Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammed” event in every way: Politically, morally, strategically (or if you prefer tactically). And the “cartoons” that I saw from the event were not even particularly provocative. Yet they did prick tender sensibilities both Muslim and not; and pricking sensibilities seems to be what the video’s scriptwriter thinks comedy is all about.

    It isn’t. Humour isn’t politics, although politics offers plenty of scope for genuine humour since it tends to throw a spotlight on human foibles and silliness.

    Though I certainly don’t want them legally prohibited or legally punishable, I am 1000% against anti-Semitic cartoons. I think the people who draw such are low-life scum (save in one very restricted circumstance) and I would never knowingly support them in any way. Calling them out, calling them what they are or else refusing to give them publicity, and complete boycott of them and their stuff is only the tip of what they deserve. And from me it’s what they get.

    I wish the video script had taken into account these issues, for they exist and are a part of the world we live in and the ongoing discussions about “free speech” and what it is and isn’t.

    In sum, the video is fine as long as you keep your focus on what you want the story to be.

  • newrouter

    >By the way, what do we think about “comedy” routines that throw around the “n” word as practically the main point?<

    let me ponder that collectivist question for moment.

  • Julie near Chicago

    I don’t see anything “collectivist” about it, newrouter. “What do we think of … ?” is a legitimate way of seeking individuals’ (INDIVIDUALS’) opinions, and has long been standard English usage.

    It’s true, of course, that it may also ask for some sort of consensus. (Which is not necessarily a collectivist thing, of course. Any given group may reach or fail to reach an agreement — a consensus — on any given issue, regardless of whether they do so out of some groupish sense, not to coin a word.) It’s up to the reader to take it as he will, but what the writer said and what was in his head is not up to the reader.

    It’s important not to project what you fear onto others. It’s important to be careful not to sling poo at people who don’t deserve it — and, especially on a libertarian board such as this, who may not always follow the Party Line. It’s important to be able to see not only the meaning you expect to see or are used to seeing, but also other meanings that are equally possible…especially if one lacks sophistication in the art of reading.

    Putting it another way, don’t make a horse’s hinie of yourself by jumping to conclusions. I speak as one with many years’ experience in trying to overcome that fault myself.

  • Nicholas (Self-sovereignty) Gray

    Q. How many socialists does it take to change a light bulb?

    A. None- they prefer being unenlightened!

    And what’s wrong with the ‘N’ word? You can say ‘New-Zealander’ all you want! They’re so slow, they’ll never realise the joke was about them!

  • newrouter

    so isn’t a nigger really just a chav?


  • newrouter

    >It’s important not to project what you fear onto others.<

    what's up my nigga? and stupid pretensions.

  • newrouter

    >Julie near Chicago<

    what be the black "bodies" count this weekend? oh for some fun:
    The fire this time (4)

  • newrouter

    > “What do we think of … ?” is a legitimate way of seeking individuals’ (INDIVIDUALS’) opinions, and has long been standard English usage. <

    "What do you think of"?

  • Rich Rostrom

    Julie near Chicago – July 27, 2015 at 1:31 am:

    the Iran regime is fighting ISIS with Hebdo- and Mad-Magazine-type cartoons ridiculing them.

    Interesting; there is also a Saudi TV show which ridicules ISIS. (The two guys writing it get death threats.)

  • Phil B

    It’s too late to knuckle under to political correctness. You need to beware and examine any of your HISTORICAL politically incorrect lapses:


    And if that isn’t the exact same scenario of the Chinese Communists public apologies for “sins” agains the Revolution, the I don’t know what is …

  • pricking sensibilities seems to be what the video’s scriptwriter thinks comedy is all about.

    It isn’t. Humour isn’t politics, although politics offers plenty of scope for genuine humour since it tends to throw a spotlight on human foibles and silliness.

    Julie, there are many forms and contexts in which humor occurs – satire is only one such form, and politics (as in political satire) is one such context. Satire is about pricking sensibilities, or at least highlighting them so as to keep reexamining them and their validity. This is useful and even necessary, offense aside.

    Antisemitic cartoons are not morally acceptable to me, and neither are anti-Muslim or anti-Christian cartoons. However, anti-Judaism, anti-Islam or anti-Christianity cartoons should be entirely legitimate and can be useful, as they put up for reexamination ideas, rather than groups of people.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa, I agree with you entirely in your first paragraph, if I take it literally, as I think you meant. Part of my complaint about the video is that I wish it were more careful to establish the particular sort of “humor” or “comedy” it is trying to talk about.

    I listened to the thing twice, the second time to be sure the word “satire” wasn’t used. It wasn’t.
    Also, satire is often used by authoritarian regimes to ridicule and discredit their chosen scapegoats. I’m sure we can all think of a Prime Example of this without even trying. So the statement(s) to the effect that comedy — satire? — has the purpose of assassinating authoritarianism, if I may so put it, is simply not true in general. Sometimes it is a weapon against authoritarianism, but it’s at least equally likely to be used by authoritarians against scapegoats or perceived enemies.

    It’s also true that a great deal of satire isn’t even comedy, being unfunny as the dickens. And a good deal of what passes for “comedy” of the I-can-say-whatever-the-f*-I-please-and-the-hell-with-you variety depends on shock value and not on any “intellectual” or “it makes you think” “humour” at all.

    I don’t deny there’s a germ of truth somewhere in the polemic, but it is a polemic and in my opinion insufficiently self-critical.

    . . .

    I would like to go along with your second point, but the problem is that I can’t bring to mind a cartoon lampooning any ideology, philosophy, or religion that doesn’t do it by depicting people. If you feel like pursuing this, do you have an example?

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Julie, here is a joke that might fit in-

    Q. How many polar bears would it take to change a light bulb?

    A. None- so who cares if they do all drown!?

    How’s that for an anti-greenist joke? Bears aren’t people, or did i not read that memo?

  • Julie near Chicago


    Thinking about it, did you have in mind something like Bosch Fawstin’s “You can’t draw me” cartoon? That would raise an interesting point, because the direct target of the cartoon is the belief, or principle, or tenet of Islam that Muhammed is not to be depicted.

    The problem with that example is that indirectly it does target people: The people who hold the tenet: Muslims, presumably. And I don’t see how you can mock a principle without implying that the people who hold it are properly mocked. As matter of fact that’s exactly what the Professional Atheists do to religious believers, only (usually) not under the pretense that they’re merely being “funny.”

  • The Wobbly Guy

    Nah, instead of nigger, the current euphemism of choice is ‘dindu’.

    As in ‘Trayvon was a good boy, he din du nuffin!’

  • Julie near Chicago

    Sorry (not really), but I can’t let this go just yet.

    The video is also flatly wrong when it says that if one starts out by announcing one is just making a joke, everyone will understand and no harm will be done. And certainly this is true of comedy routines.

    What planet does the guy live on?

    There are people who make a career out of starting a routine, or a book, by announcing that it is just “comedy” and “Of course you all know I’m just joking” or some such repudiation of the next hour-and-a-half truly nasty and hateful rant against whatever or whomever they make the night’s main target.

    Nastiness is nastiness, whether you call it comedy or not, and call yourself a comedian or not, and repudiate your nastiness before or after committing it.

    We all need to toughen up…yes, we do, I agree. But the trick is to do this without becoming hardened to the belittling or demeaning of others … and making excuses for it.

  • Julie near Chicago

    NSSG, omigod, the Polar Bears! The poor things! And now you are using them to mock the Greenies, aren’t you! Well, go ahead, be my guest. Perhaps we can find a nice ice floe to occupy together as we watch them freeze to death.

    Maybe a better example than the one that occurred to me? Only Alisa knows for sure…. 😉

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    I’ve often had to tell jokes. In my toastmasters club, we have a joker assignment. I not only explain to newcomers and new members what I am doing, but also what is required of them. I refuse to leave the podium until I hear genuine laughter! Being a comedian is no laughing matter, certainly not with MY jokes!

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, Nick, here a pun, there a double-entendre…. :>))!!

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    All that, and I still can’t get on Letterman! It’s a complete mystery… Just because the show has standards, whatever they are!!!
    Still, if you think people should not be made the subject of jokes, how do you feel about politicians? Are they people?

    Q. How many Conservative politicians would it take to change a light bulb?
    A. Change?!!!

    Q. How can you tell when politicians are lying?

    A. Their lips are moving.

    Q. What do you call a decent politician?

    A. Trick question! No such creature.

  • Andrew Duffin

    @Fraser Orr: “matrix of most of the evils in our society is the public school house”

    For a horrible moment I thought you were using the phrase “public school” in its British sense.

    But I realise now that you’re not.

    I hope.