Patterico's Pontifications


Sockpuppet Friday—the Phallometric Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 12:25 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads.  I have made that mistake myself, alot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.


Oh, and this is unrelated, but I figured this would be a nice place to share something fun for a Friday afternoon, but via IGN witness…  The Space Battleship Yamato rises.  And naturally that is in follow up to this nerdy post.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

There is Now Something Officially Worse Than the TSA’s Scan and Grope

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 10:56 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

I will leave the mind scarring details to the source material, but here’s the gist.  Say you are a gay man seeking asylum in the Czech Republic based on anti-gay persecution.  Well, this might be traumatizing enough to make you need asylum from the asylum process.  You see, the Czechs are really worried about people faking being gay to get asylum.  So they attach a device to your, um…  let’s just say, they attach it to your junk.  And then they show you pictures that would presumably turn on a gay man.  And then they use the device to see if you are turned on.

Yes, really.  They even have a bland sounding term for it.  Phallometric tests.

And um, seriously, you couldn’t fool this test?  Like as they show you a naked dude, you couldn’t instead picture a hot girl?

Also, there is no word on what they do when a lesbian seeks asylum.

Hat tip: Boing boing.

Update: Linked without further comment.

Update (II): Also linked, without further comment.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

The Deafening Silence: Nobel Peace Prize Awarded (Update: Moving Video Via Hot Air)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:44 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

Update: Hot Air has a powerful video on the presentation today.

Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was given to an empty suit, harming the prestige of the award.  This year represents a bit of a redemption, as they awarded it to an empty chair.

Jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo’s absence was marked with an empty chair at the ceremony to award his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway on Friday.

This marks the second time in its more than 100-year history that neither the recipient or any representative was unable to collect the prestigious prize.

The last time was 1936, when Adolf Hitler prevented German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky — who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp — from claiming the award.

Three others — cold War dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Lech Walesa, as well as Burma democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi — had their prizes accepted by family members.

Because Xiaobo could not attend, his gold medal, Nobel diploma and cash prize were not handed out. Instead, Norwegian Nobel Committee officials say they hope to give them to the jailed laureate at a later date.

In his comments at Oslo’s City Hall, Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said the decision should not be seen as “a prize against China,” as he urged officials in Beijing to “become used to being debated and criticized.”

As the NYT notes, Mr. Liu’s family was being prevented from leaving the country, as well as the winner himself.  And on a tangential note, you know those crazy Taiwanese animators?  Well, they created a serious video about Liu, which you can view here.  I mean, there is literally nothing funny about this video at all and it’s not trying to be funny.  Watching it, you can almost feel the pain of the Taiwanese.  They consider themselves, after all, as Chinese as the mainlanders.  So in a real way, Taiwan is like a colony of escaped slaves circa 1850 or so, looking to see millions of their brothers and sisters in bondage and knowing they can do little to help.

But while this year’s award is a significant improvement over giving the prize to Obama for merely becoming president, or to Al Gore for making up a pack of lies about the environment (because somehow scaring everyone about the environment and demonizing modern, industrialized countries will automatically lead to peace breaking out), this appears to be a righteous choice.  This is more in line with what we think of when we think of an appropriate recipient of a peace prize, such a Martin Luther King, Jr.  I have long argued that the fact Dr. King was awarded this prize did more to help the reputation of the prize than the prize did to help Dr. King’s reputation.

But at the same time, is peace really the answer, here?  Even Dr. King recognized that there were times when non-violence just didn’t work:

Martin Luther King Jr. once said of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred World War II pastor, “if your opponent has a conscience, then follow Gandhi. But if you enemy has no conscience, like Hitler, then follow Bonhoeffer.”

Bonhoeffer, of course, was one of many people who attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler.  And like Abraham Lincoln, I see all issues of politics, global or local, through the words of the Declaration of Independence.  All persons are created equal, including the Chinese.  They are equally entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the only legitimate government is one that rules by consent of the people and honors those rights.  Our rebellion against England was well-justified, but our grievances against England at that time pale in comparison to the grievances of the Chinese people against their oppressors.  And Tiananmen Square proved that their opponent does not have a conscience.  In fact, only a handful in the army showed any conscience at all that day:

A person like the famous “Tank man” lacks nothing in courage.  But he needs more than the courage to face death; he needs the willingness to fight for the freedom of himself and others.  The Chinese need a revolution, in favor of representative democracy.

Update: This is nitpicky, but if you look at the gold square lettering, it spells out LXB, obviously for Liu Xiaobo.  Which is all well and fine, but that isn’t really how his name is written.  That is the transliteration from Chinese.  So if we want to be culturally sensitive, and perhaps send a message to the Chinese people, shouldn’t it just be the Chinese characters, whatever they are?  You would probably be able to write his entire name in almost the same amount of space.

Update II: In the comments Dmac mentions another disgrace in the Nobel’s past: Arafat.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Refudiation: Richard Wolffe Mocks Palin For Reading “Mere” Children’s Author C.S. Lewis

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:44 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]

This is getting to be a familiar pattern, so much so that maybe we need a tag for this.  It goes like this.  First Sarah Palin says something perfectly reasonable, showing what I consider to be at least average intelligence and knowledge.  Then a liberal, being less knowledgeable than her on the subject at hand, mistakes his or her own ignorance as evidence of Palin’s stupidity and in the process manages to look stupid themselves.  I mean we have the “Party like its 1773” example, and Gawker’s previous snark fail.  And now we have Richard Wolffe.

You can watch on the link but basically on Chris Matthews’ show they first played a clip with Barbara Walters where she asked Palin what she read.  Palin says that she reads C.S. Lewis when she wants “divine inspiration.”  (And notice, she doesn’t specify which book or series of books she is talking about.)  Which leads Wolffe to snark, “Look, divine inspiration from a series of kids’s books?”  Going on:

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Hardball” with Chris Matthews, Wolffe expressed incredulity, noting that Lewis wrote “a series of kids’ books.”

Matthews interrupted Wolffe: “I wouldn’t put down C.S. Lewis.”

“I’m not putting him down,” Wollfe responded. “But you know divine inspiration? There are things she could’ve said to divine inspiration. Choosing C.S. Lewis is an interesting one.”

Now Mr. Wolffe…  can I call you Dick?  Okay, Dick, you see C.S. Lewis was actually pretty famously Christian.  First the Chronicles of Narnia are actually famous for its hit-you-over-the-head obvious biblical allegories.  The death of Aslan in Wardrobe, for instance, was meant to invoke the death of Christ, for instance (although reportedly Lewis denied this—you can take that as seriously as it deserves to be taken).  But C.S. Lewis was also famous for something else: writing adult, philosophical books on Christianity.  You know, like Mere Christianity.  Here’s wikipedia on that one:

Mere Christianity is a theological book by C. S. Lewis, adapted from a series of BBC radio talks made between 1941 and 1944, while Lewis was at Oxford during World War II. Considered a classic of Christian apologetics, the transcripts of the broadcasts originally appeared in print as three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity (1942), Christian Behaviour (1942), and Beyond Personality (1944). Lewis was invited to give the talks by Rev. James Welch, the BBC Director of Religious Broadcasting, who had read his 1940 book, The Problem of Pain.

Now I confess I have never read the first word of that book, but I know from reputation that it is a grown up, serious and many argue, classic defense of Christianity.  The priest who performed my wedding ceremony, for instance, had high praise for the book.

In other words, dismissing Lewis as just a children’s author is like saying Jamie Foxx is just a comedian.  It’s like saying Machiavelli only wrote handbooks for dictators.  It’s like saying that Leslie Neilsen was just a comic actor.

“Well, when I see five weirdos, dressed in togas, stabbing a man in the middle of the park in full view of a hundred people, I shoot the bastards, that's my policy!”

Indeed, my gut feeling is that this almost qualifies as common knowledge, that C.S. Lewis was well known for writing books like Mere Christianity.

In short, Richard, in trying to snark on Palin, you proved to be an ignorant Dick about all of this.

Which says nothing about Palin’s qualifications to be president and so on.  But can we stop trying to leap on her all the time and portray her as something less than a person of at least ordinary intelligence?

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Worst Wikileak Yet

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:24 am

This one is a real game changer.

Background here.

Thanks to red.

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