Friday follies 7/27/12

If you think this soup lacks a theme, you’re probably right. But it’s got a lot of flavors I hope you’ll find interesting.

  1. Batman → Massacre?
  2. Olympics open.
  3. “Compassion and rationality are such a drag.”
  4. A confession.
  5. Sally Ride’s Unforbidden Love.
  6. Church Welcome Message.
  7. Indiana Democrats cement pro-abortion stance.
  8. Abolish the NCAA!
  9. Pop music scientifically proven boring.
  10. Jack Daniels scientifically proven to mellow you out.
  11. Academic follies.
  12. Toxic web dumps.


Writing on the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre, a writer at Wired gingerly tries to wave a caution flag without offending anyone too much, concluding:

I haven’t seen Dark Knight Rising and had not planned to before the opening and do not plan to now, because I saw the prior two movies in the series and found them, like so many superhero movies and movies of dark, supposedly profound violence before them, entertaining but empty; overproduced, overwrought, pretentious. (I’ll admit I did like watching Michael Caine run the empire for a time.) But we’re not watching Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde here, nor Mystic River or Unforgiven. These superhero movies strike me as the Hill Street Blues of the 21st cinema: They entertain us freshly enough that we mistake their novelty for originality and their polish for art. On later review it’s clear they’re nothing special.

If this is the culture you want, well, fine, I suppose. But you’re fooling yourself if you think it stops at the exit door.

(H/T The Browser) Abbot Tryphon, caring less about giving offense than about speaking the truth as he sees it, is less equivocal, and offends both Hollywood and the NRA:

The recent tragic event that took place in Aurora, Colorado that resulted in the deaths of twelve people, including a six year old girl, and the shooting of seventy others, should be a wake up call for American, but it won’t. We have become a nation obsessed with violence, and our entertainment proves it. Movies portraying extremes in violence make huge sums of money for producers, studios and actors, while polluting the minds of millions of people with sick images of darkness, evil and extreme violence.

Warner Brothers bankrolled “The Dark Knight Rises”, and now, along with director Christopher Nolan, wants the American people to know how devastated they are that someone would imitate their “art form” with an attack on such an “innocent and hopeful place” as a movie theater. They produced and filmed a twisted and evil movie and would have us believe the “unbearably savage” act of violence had nothing to do with them.

Increasingly we are becoming desensitised towards violence and the film industry would have us believe it has nothing to do with them. When we allow ourselves and our children to be exposed to the violent rot and stench of Hollywood’s best, do we wonder why borderline people act out movie plots and kill innocent people? When we allow anyone to purchase military style weapons, are we really surprised when a deranged or evil person actually purchase them to kill innocent people, or kill our police officers? Do we really believe the Founding Fathers meant for all of us to have the right to have military style weapons in our homes and armor piercing bullets?

What we put into our minds does make a difference, and if we are to have our children become sensitive, loving and caring people, we have to know that the movies they watch, the video games they play and the company they keep does make a difference.

A culture that cares only about outward manifestations of inward dispositions may have trouble finding cause and effect connections between gut smut and massacres. But anyone who know that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” and who cares about the heart as well as about the speech, will hesitate to put crap into the heart.

Peggy Noonan weighs in this morning, too.


Today, we all get to lean back in the Lazy Boy, open a bag of Cheese Doodles, pop the top off a cold one, and thus vicariously achieve feats of athletic derring-do.


A writer at thinks that it’s a problem (“inadvertent exploitation of patients’ natural human weaknesses and cognitive tendencies”) when doctors and their staffs don’t consciously adopt dehumanizing and supposedly clinical ways of talking about ultrasound images of children in utero. First comment nails it:

Yeah. Compassion and rationality are such a drag.

The comment posted by E Kite on Jul 23, 2012 at 2:23:39 PM is excellent, though less succinct:

I agree with the author – informed consent means removing everything that could sway parent’s judgement except for clinical data. After we stop showing ultrasound to parents, here’s a modest proposal to complete the process:

(1) Create a cone of silence isolating mothers and fathers from the sound of babies in the hospital. This might require anechoic panels in every corridor, but this is a small price to pay for meaningful informed consent.

(2) Ban all advertising for baby products and child care within a 1-mile radius of hospitals. We harshly punish drug dealers who push their product near high schools, because we know children are particularly vulnerable to getting addicted. Shouldn’t it be the same for those who peddler baby paraphenalia near emotionally vulnerable people? We need to protect mothers.

(3) During the first and second trimesters, a lock switch on all media devices owned by the mother is activated, preventing sounds or images of any of the following:- babies and infants; juvenile animals; any family drama in which the youngest is under five; any play, film or show in which a mother-child bond is a significant part of the plot; and, for parents contemplating a second or additional child, any media product that portrays large families as being richer and happier than small families (Ewww. Ick.)

It is critical to avoid triggering our squishy mammalian emotion circuits when making major life decisions. Otherwise, how can we make the necessary hard-headed choices? When courting my wife, I made sure I didn’t see her face for the first six dates – that way I knew that my love for her flowed logically from the 163 rational criteria I had written down in advance and not some primitive hormonal rush.

I didn’t comment, but if I did, it might be this Chestertonian chestnut, reproduced unfiltered and unchecked from my deep memory: “The madman hasn’t lost his reason. He’s lost everything but his reason.”


With the best of pro-life intentions, I contributed to Michelle Bachmann’s first campaign for Congress.

There. I said it. If I ever run for high office, claiming to be perfect, opposition research can pull this out and wave it around.

I mention it because she now is Exhibit A for why even the most convincing profession of settled and unalterable opposition to abortion, while very important (and, in my opinion, darned rare – lots of GOP lip service is unconvincing), is no longer high trump in my voting. Some people ostensibly opposed to abortion are warmongers, economic fools, demagogues and otherwise unworthy of elective office.

If American survives and regains its sanity some day, Bachmann’s recent ravings about Islam bode to be remembered in history books (Opposition research: “As late as July of 2012, Tipsy was calling Bachmann an historic figure.”) as exemplars of an ugly current influencing our present lives. I’m heartened that she was quickly repudiated by several well-placed Republicans.


There has been a bit of posthumous buzz about Sally Ride’s lesbianism, including her 27-year partnership with Tam O’Shaughnessy.

Note that the relationship began when there was no such thing as “same-sex marriage” and they probably could not have found a clergy person to bless it. I note this simply to deflate liberal groin pieties like “outlawing love,” which are infuriatingly effective despite their utter hollowness and tendentiousness.


Sally & Tam would be welcome at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Community even if they couldn’t gin up a Priest to bless their partnership.

Great Church welcome. H/T StuffChristiansLike via Lindsay Nelson

(Click on the image to see the full greeting.)

Need I add that the Church is “a hospital for sinners, not a club for saints” and that (hold on!) “Christ didn’t come to make bad men good, but to make dead men live”?


I continue to hope for an emergence of pro-life leadership and sentiment in the Democrat party. Indiana Democrats today gave me a good punch in the gut for my trouble, replacing Pat Bauer with Linda Lawson, whose voting record is just two clicks better than President Obama’s, and just two clicks better than abysmal.


I knew we hadn’t heard the last of the NCAA sanctions against Penn State.

Incredibly, the NCAA in its purported effort to get the football program better integrated into the University, has demanded that the $60 million fine be taken from academics or something other than athletics! I am not making this up:

No current sponsored athletic team may be reduced or eliminated in order to fund this fine.

A gigantic tip of the hat to David Post at the Volokh Conspiracy blog for catching this. Can anyone defend the NCAA on this?

Oh, by the way: Read the blog’s second half; Paterno may have gotten a bum rap.


Spanish scientists, living in a land that famously has lots of discretionary money for important research, have proven scientifically that pop music is boring as hell. Or maybe they didn’t. But they showed all the rigor of innumerable published articles that Mark Regnerus unforgivably contradicted.


Well, maybe it’s not really scientific, but here’s convincing proof just the same that Jack Daniels makes one mellow. And I’m not looking too hard for contrary evidence.


Apparently, weak research that comes to the “right” conclusions is more acceptable than stronger studies that offer heretical results.

Christian Smith, commenting on the academic crucifixion of a scholar named Mark Regnerus who published a solid study, above average for social science studies, showing that … well, read it yourself.

The editor of Social Science Research maybe should oughta be checking under da hood of his car before puttin’ his key in dat ignition, too. We, youse professional peers, wouldn’t want dat nuttin’ untoward should oughta happen, y’know.


Speaking of putting crap in one’s heart, I visited Thursday morning after a long absence. I don’t think I’ll go back. It’s booby-trapped with things that spew toxic gas, and it’s hard to remain alert enough for safety.

Not all things libertarian are edifying.

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Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.