A Crisis of Identity

Allow me to go all special-snowflake and super-self-indulgent for a bit. Normal service will resume shortly.


I’ve had trouble recently figuring out exactly where I fit in the world.

I feel too weird for ‘normal’ society, but too normal for ‘weird’ society.

I mean, consider: My week isn’t spent counting down to Friday where I go out to get drunk in a packed club; my political opinions go beyond “They’re all crooks!”; I don’t work in an office where my surname has remarkably transformed into ‘from accounts’ or ‘from purchasing’; I can count on one hand the exact number of times I’ve given a shit about sport in the last twenty years; And my main sexual fetish isn’t “phwoar, tits!”.

Meanwhile, at the same time: I hate whimsy; I can’t stand poetry; I’ve committed the ultimate sin in thinking that Doctor Who is just a TV show and, really, just a wee-little-bit shit; I don’t have any ironic hobbies like knitting or collecting tea; I don’t have any mental illnesses or disorders, neither self- nor professionally-diagnosed; And I’m basically cishet scum through-and-through.

So I wonder why either group puts up with me.

I could become a conservative, but I think they’re the Evil Fucking Empire. I’m obviously a liberal, but the liberal-left’s innate talent for self-destruction through its purity culture makes me want to curl into a ball and cry. I could go the South Park route and become apathetic and develop a disdain for any thought that challenges me to care or develop or change but, at the end of the day, I just give too much of a shit about things for that nonsense.

Is my real place with the more-mainstream nerds, fighting for Comic-Con tickets and arguing about X-Box vs the PlayStation 19? Probably not, since I have no idea where I’d find the disposable income for all that bullshit, and I find the casual misogyny and the neckbeardiness that comes with the territory utterly repellent. Does that mean I should join in full-time with the Social Justice Enthusiasts, instead? I suppose so, but I find them to be mostly cloud-cuckoolanders who need to learn to live in reality as it is, first, before they have a hope in hell of changing it because, goat-dammit, guys, perfection is the enemy of good/better, here!

A religious group is a non-starter, obviously. Maybe I could get in with the hardened, out-and-proud Atheists? Well, to be honest, I’d rather join a religious cult that was happy to admit to it, and I like that when I use the word “logic” I mean some bollocks like “(∃x∈X|x=n)⇔n∉Y” and not “Feminism and Islam are the greatest threat to humanity because Logic”.

Metalheads? Frankly, I’d rather be locked in a lift for 24 hours with a Trump fan than a Tool fan, and if I can’t stand the liberal purity culture I’ll last about half a second in the world of “METAAAAAALL!!!!!”. Besides, the broader ‘alternative’ crowd have always looked at me with suspicion for having zero interest in ever getting a piecing or tattoo ever.

So all those sub-cultures and movements are out, and I’ve never felt right nor welcome in any of them.

I’m not, and probably never will be, the great, perfect, stalwart LGBT ally people want me to be, but I’ll never go back to the “eugh, why does it always have to be about the gays!” crowd because fuck that. I know for a damn fact that privilege is very real, but I know there is literally fuck-all I can do about it – which I know because I once asked what I could do about it and had shit slung in my face for it. And, yes, quite, simply not talking about racism won’t make it magically go away but neither will only talking about it.

Or do I just bite the bullet and turn normal – Get a trendy haircut, support the local sports team (Go Sports Team!), share post-memes with Minions on them, comment on a Facebook post that already has 150,000 comments on it, roll back my self-awareness, and start regularly watching Eastenders? Or go full tits-to-the-wall odd – Shave one eyebrow because “that’s so random!”, take up body-painting, change my Facebook profile picture to the flag of whatever country is going through the shit this time, buy some goofy hats, take up barefoot running, and then invent my own sexual orientation because “there isn’t a word that describes me!”?

Or, is this just normal and expected. Are we all like this and all thinking the same thing?

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Things To Do Instead of Transformers 4…

Transformers: Age of Extinction recently came to Netflix. Yay!

And I sat down and watched it… Yay?

transformers-4_2

Reviews the world over have pretty much panned it, so I can’t add to that. Instead, here is a non-comprehensive list of things you can do instead should anyone suggest watching it even for Bad Movie Night:

  • Literally nothing – Sit in a reasonably comfortable spot, stare at the wall, and do nothing. Don’t even think. Through this, you run a small risk of entering a Zen-like meditative trance and experiencing Enlightenment. Meanwhile, there is no place in the infinite reaches of the multi-verse where this is possible by watching Age of Extinction. The potential drawbacks including DVT and existential dread of wondering why you’re doing this are the same in either case here.
  • Watch 9 Songs – Until very, very recently, if anyone asked me “what is the very worst film you’ve ever watched?” I would answer, without a beat, 9 Songs. It’s pseudo-pornographic crap held together by the worst the 2000s’ Indy music scene has to offer and some additional supposedly-deep and meaningful claptrap about ice cores. I can’t quite remember the details, I mostly recall a strong feeling of “Thank Christ that bullshit is over” at the end of 9 Songs and a desire to get wasted to blot it out. It is still better than Age of Extinction.
  • Get a prison-tattoo – With a blunt needle. And infected ink. Of a swastika. On your genitals. It’ll be an actual good story to bring up on a first date, and may give you a sense of achievement.
  • Read John Knox’s Monstrous Regiment of Women or some of John Norman’s Gor series – In either of these cases you will find a better, more progressive, enlightening, balanced and respectful treatment of women than you will find in Transformers: Michael Bay’s Ode To Statutory Rape.
  • Watch the YouTube video of all the dinobot scenes from the movie – If you watch Optimus riding Grimlock while wielding a sword, your inner Transformers fanboy will certainly be sated. You can then watch this for two-and-a-half-hours on a loop and pretend it’s part of a much better story that makes actual sense.

transformers-4

  • Experiment with auto-erotic asphyxiation – A lot of people say it’s terrible, and it’s not worth it. And they also say that it could actively damage or harm you. But hey, a lot of people like it, and do it, and say it’s worth it if you’re into that sort of thing. You know, the exact same line of reasoning that says “go see a Michael Bay movie that isn’t Bad Boys“.
  • Find an internet comments section and read it – Like “doing nothing” this has a small but finite chance of causing enlightenment.
  • Floss your eyeballs – This entirely fictional health tip is likely to cause a lot of confusion and discomfort, is totally unnecessary and will make you question what you’re doing and why you took this advice. The same thing will happen as you watch Michael Bay slowly pan over an underage teen’s hotpants while openly discussing how she’s getting the D from a 20 year-old. Except after this, your eyes will at least be a little cleaner.
  • Figure out of Mark Wahlberg is a net-positive to humanity – Wahlberg is the best thing about this movie. He acts his little pudgy nose off fully realising all the dimensions (all none of them) of the flat, motivation-free character the writers bestowed upon him in Age of Extinction. So good. On the other hand, Planet of the Apes. So fuck me. On the other hand, Ted. So good. On the other hand, Ted 2. So fuck me. Then try to fit Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch into that puzzle. It’s likely that 2 hours 45 minutes later, you may have come to an answer satisfying enough that you could write it up and submit to a sociology journal.
  • Inject marijuana into your nipple and breastfeed your partner – I just can’t find this one in my copy of The Encyclopaedia of Unusual Sex Practices. So if you do manage to do this in the space of three hours, it’s three hours well spent pushing back the boundaries of human imagination.
  • Listen to Linkin Park – All of it. Every album. Track their slow decline from nu-metal superstars to post-modernist, self-mythologising “Artistes” of some description. You also get to hear their contributions to the Transformers soundtracks, which I kinda like in an easy-listening, non-offensive, wouldn’t-throw-a-brick-at-the-DJ-if-they-played-it-in-the-10pm-slot sort of way despite the general flat, triteness of those three songs. You also get to throw yourself to your knees and scream along to Numb like you’re still 15 and hate your parents. And that’s basically Jailbaity McJailbaitface’s entire character development in Age of Extinction.

transformers-4_3

  • Watch the first (live-action, 2007) Transformers movie – hey, it’s a big dumb blockbuster tent-pole release, but it does exactly what it says on the tin: giant freaking robots kick the shit out of each other for a bit. And thanks to Speilberg’s “a boy and his car” concept, actually gives it a human dimension that may make you give a shit about the characters as they run and scream from the destruction on screen. Yes. I feel this film is actually good. In fact, watch Dark of the Moon instead, that also holds up as vaguely-coherent entertainment. Don’t watch Revenge of the Fallen, however. See the rest of this list before sticking Revenge of the Fallen on. In fact, watch Age of Extinction before Revenge of the Fallen.
  • Or fuck that, watch the 1986 animated Transformers: The Movie – You get G1 Optimus not acting like a murderous psychopath. You get Galvatron. You get Unicron. You get the Dinobots. You get ‘You Got The touch’. You get the death of Optimus Prime, too. You get Orson Welles for fuck’s sake. Sure, it’s an objectively kinda-not-that-good film, and, yes, the animation is dodgy as all hell, and yes, it’s painfully ’80s, but you can watch it twice in the space of 2014’s offering.
  • Write a blog post reviewing a bad film – Hell, it’s working for me right now. I’d say this is 2 hours 45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, but in reality it’s 2 and a half – because the only reason to sit through the credits is to find out which writer needs shot as an example to others.

What I’d say to climate change deniers if… fuck it, I AM saying this

You may have read this before, so you know where this is going… I just wanted to say to you by the way of introductory remarks that I’m extremely miffed about this subject, and in my quest to try to make you understand the level of my unhappiness, I’m likely to use an awful lot of – what we would call – violent sexual imagery and I just wanted to check that none of you would be terribly offended by that.

Okay?

Just before we do begin, if you are an actual climate change denialist – you might call yourselves “skeptics” but we both know that term is wholly inappropriate here – then, yeah… don’t bother commenting. Don’t bother. I don’t care. You’re wrong. You are factually incorrect in your opinions, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change that, unfortunately. I know your arguments, I know your reasons, and they all fall flat – I know this for reasons that will become apparent shortly. So, don’t waste your breath. Feel persecuted all you like, I don’t care. I literally Do. Not. Care. That’s prior warning: I might just dump you in the spam filter and I will not care.

Okay… now we’re ready.


Dear Climate Change Denialists….

Actually, screw the formalities, you really don’t fucking deserve to be addressed as mature fucking adults…

DEAR FUCKING IDIOTIC FUCKTARDED DANGEROUS LUNATIC FUCKING CUNTSNACKS,

Did that get your fracking attention?

Yeah, I’m talking you, fuckstains, the fucking idiots who think “bah, global warming is bollocks because it’s snowing outside!” – because you’re fucking stupid. Yep, that’s you, you “but what about the medieval warm period?!” intellectual fucking losers – because you don’t even have the first idea of what any of that even means.

Enjoy hiding this fucking decline, shitheads. Because I am really going to mine the depths of indecency coming up with this, but it needs said to you thick-as-fuck, shit-headed, tit-moochers.

You’re stupid. Really stupid. Like… fucking hell, creationists think the world is 6,000 years old and that evolution is fake because giraffes don’t give birth to crocoducks, but by hecking-hellsacks they’re complete utter geniuses compared to you ballsacks-for-brains idiots. Yes, really, fucking creationists are brighter than you. Creationists, fucking creationists, enjoy a closer bond with reality than you knob-handling wank-puffs.

Let’s look at the scale of stupid here, and how dangerous it can be:

creationists photo creationists.jpg

Creationists: believe the world magically poofed into existence more recently than the domestication of the dog, but that hardly causes any harm, does it? Like, sure, the religious fundamentalism that backs it is homophobic as fuck and hates women, but creationism doesn’t exactly kill, right? They’re stupid, and off the fucking charts with how wrong they are, but they’re nothing but a fuck-dumb intellectual curiosity.

Moon Landing Conspiracy Theorists: boy, oh boy, oh boy are these fuckers stupid. I mean, we could go over the cognitive biases they have all damn day, but apart from being loud and stupid, again they’re mostly harmless. They’re mostly a danger to themselves when they try this shit in front of Buzz Aldrin. They’re fucking hilarious. Stupid, and hilarious for it. But harmless.

Homeopaths: the perfect cure for Heavy Wallet Syndrome, definitely, but at least when they cause death and illness it’s limited only to the people they engage with. Homeopathy is a self-contained problem, restricted to the idiots who want to fall for it, and eventually at worst Darwinism will kick in eventually. So, homeopaths stupid, and potentially causing harm in certain circumstances, but self-contained harm.

Mediums: sick fuckers pretend to talk to the dead, but they don’t actually go around putting the dead there in the first place, so whatever. It’s their victims who are the gullible pricks: oh, boo-fucking-hoo for them, they’ve been tricked and swindled and emotionally mangled for money. But still, this is mostly harmless shit. The world won’t end because Psychic Sally is a fraud. People aren’t going to starve in a drought because someone paid tuppence for someone to stare into a ball and talk crap about their dead relatives.

But you… you, climate change fucking denialists, your ass-sitting, ass-pulling, ass-fingering opinions would let the whole fucking world burn just because you’re too fucking busy, too stupid, or too intentionally ignorant to understand the very fucking basics of the science you think isn’t real. And that’s what fucking brings people like me to say shit like this; to belittle, insult, berate and fucking go to town with anger and profanity and shit-knows what else frothing at the front of my brain. We’ve tried reason, we’ve tried evidence… and you don’t fucking care.

It’s the entire fucking world, our future, the planet – everything – that’s at risk and you don’t care. You don’t fucking care. You’re endangering people who aren’t you, who aren’t even born yet – you’re fucking up the future for my fucking kids that don’t even exist yet without their fucking consent, because you’re simply too stupid to grapple with climate science. You’re fucking over everyone. Without their consent. Why not just strap a barbed-wire-wrapped dildo to your fucking tits and actually fuck us, it’s the same thing. That’s why I fucking hate you. That’s why you’re worthy of near-infinite contempt. You’re the half-a-maggot in a fucking apple. You’re the pube in the pudding. You’re the shit-stain on the butt-plug.

You’re fucking scum of the lowest order and the world will be better off without you.

And it’s not like you even have a proper fucking motive to derp around as you do – what’s the worst that could happen if we respond to global warming and it turns out it is a hoax? What? Did we just make the world cleaner, safer, more sustainable, more equal… all for nothing? OH FUCKING YOUR GODS THE SHEER FUCKING HORROR OF THAT!

Nope, you seem to just want to deny it because you can. Literally, apart from using it to self-evidence your stupidity, there’s no other reason I can think of. You have nothing to lose from just rolling with what climatologists and environmentalists say. Nothing. Yet you deny it anyway. You’re fucking us over because you’re stupid and for no real reason at all. Fucking Jesus’ testicles! That’s not just ignorance, that’s fucking hardcore fucking malice!

Okay, so climate science isn’t piss simple. It’s a bit more than “2+2=4”. It takes a bit to get used to modelling, predictions and forecasts, the physics of the atmosphere, the heat capacity of the oceans… It’s okay, you’re allowed to not fully understand it.

But get this, idiot: NOT UNDERSTANDING SOMETHING ISN’T AN ARGUMENT AGAINST IT.

climate-change-peer-reviewed-publications

It really fucking isn’t. You can be ignorant all you like, it says nothing. You can pretend to know what you’re talking about (fucking spoiler alert; YOU FUCKING DON’T) but that doesn’t interfere with the fucking facts, which have been fucking speaking for themselves for years.

Did I fucking make myself a-shitting-bundantly clear, you obnoxious little fuck-weasel? Your own fucking pig-face-fucking-ignorance of science, climate, history, geology, atmospheric chemistry, the dynamics of the hydrosphere… fuck, I could list this shit all day.. your stupidity and wilful fucking blindness when it comes to nearly every relevant branch of science DOES NOT SAY CLIMATE CHANGE DOESN’T HAPPEN. Hell’s bollocks, I don’t fucking understand why the fucking X-Factor is so popular, you don’t see me spaffing my cock all over some shitty comments section about how the X-Factor isn’t real. No, because that would be madness – but when you do it it’s your free-dumb of freeze peach.

You don’t get that privilege. You don’t get the right to espouse an opinion because you didn’t put the fucking effort in.

And, no, reading an article in the fucking Daily Fucking Heil doesn’t count. Or watching some cunt-weasel chomp through the bit on Fox News; that’s also a “fuck off” from me. “Effort” means actually haven’t learned about some real climatology, like, you know, from a real fucking scientist that’s studied it, not some fuck-goon you find convincing because they can drawl shit out of their mouths so loud and thick you can see the air distort around them.

Jesus fucking wept… what in every level of unholy fucking hell makes you shit-tarded absent-minded (that is, absent of any functioning mind whatsoever) freaks-of-fucking-nature think that you’re qualified to make this kind of judgement? You can’t even grapple with the fucking basics. Watching you people even try to grapple with the basics is like watching a two year old bang pans together. “Wah! Wah! LOOK AT ME! AREN’T I SO CUTE WITH THIS!!” – except the pan-banging isn’t going to have a long-lasting effect on the human race.

It’s self-evident each and every time you speak.

How about this: What effect do the thermohaline currents of the North Atlantic have on the heat deficit of the planet?

Answer: YOU DON’T FUCKING KNOW, DO YOU?

You couldn’t even begin to fondle the bollocks of that question. You couldn’t even shoot that question a seductive look across a fucking crowded bar. You couldn’t even be admitted to the fucking bar to even see that question and her tight fucking hoochy pants because the intellectual bouncer would throw you out for wearing trainers. Yeah, that’s a fucking “extended metaphor” for how fucking brainless you are…

Actually, no, sorry: people have actually survived as competent human beings without brains (really, look it up), so what the fuck is your excuse?

Really, what fucking excuse do you have for not even wanting to engage with the basics of this? Did a climatologist finger you up the bumhole when you were five and now you can’t talk about the enhanced greenhouse effect without throwing up all over your keyboard? I mean, I get it, I do – vomiting your guts on a keyboard is literally the only fucking explanation I can think of as to why some of you would write this shit. Surely, fucking human fingers operated by actual functioning neurons couldn’t come up with some of it.

“Eeeeuggggh, the planet hasn’t warmed for 18 years!”

Oh, get fucking bent over a barrel you fuckwit – the warmest years on record have been in the last decade. It correlates with anthropogenic activity. Get the fuck over it already. Your inability to read data is your fucking problem, asshole.

“BBllllleeueueueghggggggggg…” **dumshit-hand-gesture** “…but the medieval warm period! But we’re just warming after the Little Ice Age!”

Do you know what global means? It means “all the fuck over the planet”, not our corner of fucking Europe. Hey, fucking news flash, dipshit: the world isn’t fucking flat, you know. Do you know how long those periods cycle over in contrast to post-industrial warming? Nope, you don’t.

“GGGgrrrrrrr…” **drools-a-little** “…but the sun… and cycles… and the planet does stuff… natural…”

Have a fucking prize you cunt-smush, this isn’t news to climatologists. Do you seriously think your five seconds of looking at stuff on the internet has discovered a truth that has eluded hundreds of thousands of people who have been looking at data for decades? Oh, yeah, you do think that. That’s why I’m fucking here you moronic deformed fucking cock-end.

“Fffffffffrrrrrruuulllllllbb… water vapour…”

It’s the fucking ENHANCED greenhouse effect, dipshit. Do you not even understand that?!?

No, you don’t. You prove it every single time you put fingers to keyboard, open your mouths, turn on your webcams or stand up in front of Congress or Parliament to “herp-a-derp-a-derp-a-herp” your way through your own pathetic ignorance. I wouldn’t give two shits if this wasn’t a serious issue, if there weren’t real ramifications that you were forcing on us. Fuck, I’d treat it as comedy, but it’s not fucking funny.

Hey, another quick question: What’s the difference between low-altitude ozone generation, and high altitude photochemical ozone depletion?

YOU STILL DON’T FUCKING KNOW, DO YOU?

At least not without Dr Fucking Google to guide you to the first denialist website you can find that will intentionally misunderstand it for you. You’ll ask the internet the question, ignore every single site for at least three pages of search results until you find one that goes “flllurrbelllehblleeflahhh!!!!” and choose that explanation to regurgitate like yesterday’s fucking spit. Hell, at least fucking creationists would do their own fucking fundamental basic 101 entry-level misunderstanding themselves, you have to go to fucking “CO2 is Green” or some shit like that to tell you what to think because the words are too god-fucking-damn long for you.

You don’t know the science.

You can’t engage with the science at a basic level.

You can’t fucking bring yourself to get a basic fucking education in the difference between “weather” and “climate”.

And you don’t want to.

denial

And what really fucking pisses me off… the thought that physically keeps me up at night frothing, fuming and fearing for the fucking future… is that you have the exact same number of votes as me.

If some politician comes around to say “hey, we need to deal with this climate change thing!”, and then another comes along and flapples his arms around saying “but how come it’s snowing outside!!” your vote for that fucking idiot would cancel mine out. How is that fucking fair? I know the basics of climate science. I’m not an expert, but because I’m a smart, intelligent, rational person – or, at least, not on your level of unfathomable, arrogant stupidity – I’m happy to defer to the people who know more than me. The fact that I can do that proves that I’m fucking smarter than you, fuckwort.

In a fair and decent world I’d get the say. In a fair and decent world you’d get tossed out on your ass for being too mentally incompetent to make any informed decisions.

But nooooo, cries reality. You have the same fucking number of votes as I do. You apparently get a voice. You get the media exposure you’re not entitled to through hard fucking work. You’re the idiot that can outvote the expert in sufficient numbers. You’re the shit-for-brains, regret-ridden cum-stain on the soiled underwear of the planet that would vote people into power who will happily fuck over the earth for a quick dollar, pound, bitcoin or what-the-fuck-ever like some fucking Captain Fucking Planet villain.

You’ll do that because climate science is hard and you’re too proud of your ignorance to think “hey, maybe I should defer to all the myriad people who dedicated their fucking lives to understanding this stuff for me”. And that isn’t fucking fair. I can’t tell you how to be what you’re an expert in – that is, how to be a fuck-nutted, shit-tarded, wilfully-ignorant imbecile – why do you get to even come close to making decisions on behalf of the world?

You actually pose a danger with your opinions. You can be put in a position where you can cause harm and excess suffering through your ignorance. And that’s a fucking serious problem, that leads me to this:

Just grow old and die of old age already so people like me can get the fuck on with fixing the mess you’re making!

And if you’re a climate change denialist and a creationist, and a faith-healer or medium… please, just skip the growing old part and just speed the process up of your own accord. Really, we don’t have time to fucking mess around and wait for natural causes to remove you from the gene pool and the voter pool.

Anyway…

Let’s get onto some specific tubular bell-ends, because I’m on a fucking roll, here.

Johnny Ball

My own view, for what it’s worth, is that the water content of air has far more impact on temperature than carbon dioxide levels do…Any increase in air temperature produced by raised water vapour levels will be minor and largely self-regulating…

Oh fuck off, Ball, you cock-handle. No your opinion isn’t worth it. Anyone after two minutes of fucking physical chemistry could tell you what the fuck is wrong with your worthless shitting opinion. Haven’t you fucking heard? The atmosphere is already saturated with water vapour. How the hell do I know this? Ever looked outside when the window starts making funny “pip-pip” noises and see water drops hitting it? Yeah, that. It’s called fucking rain you ass-cloud. It rains because the atmosphere can’t take any more water. The water gets the temperature up from “fuck-my-tits-it’s cold” to barbecue weather. Carbon dioxide is on top of that, and the atmosphere can take more since it doesn’t fucking rain CO2, does it?

Sarah F**king Palin

The e-mails reveal that leading climate “experts” deliberately destroyed records, manipulated data to “hide the decline” in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Sarah Palin – only the forth dumbest living human on the planet behind Ken Ham, Ray Comfort and Andrew Schlafly. None of this is true. Literally fucking none of it. There’s nothing else to say, except that Palin is a lying liar who lies by lying her lies. It is as fucking fictitious as her shitty belief that she can see Russia from her house and that the entire universe magically poofed into existence 6000 years ago. Go fuck yourself instead of fucking your daughter with your shitty and demonstrably useless purity and anti-sex bullshit.

Jim Inhofe

In case we have forgotten, because we keep hearing that 2014 has been the warmest year on record, I ask the chair, do you know what this is? It’s a snowball. And it’s just from outside here. So it’s very, very cold out. Very unseasonable.

Like everyone with “(R)” after their name, Jim Inhofe can also go suck on a fucking barbed-wire-wrapped dick and swallow. This cunting cunt-stash couldn’t tell his arse from his elbow if you showed him the difference with a fucking pop-up book. And what really pisses me the fuck off is that in one two minute interview with this cock-sack, he fires off so many half-truths no-truths, logical fallacies, and pebble-dashes the world in so much bullshit, that I could take hours to debunk it. If I set one minute of him talking as an undergraduate assignment with the question “why is this guy full of shit?” they’d clock up enough hours tearing him a new one that they’d be qualified for a fully-credited Masters degree in it. I should do that. We could call it an ‘MBull’.

Joe Barton

Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is. Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?

GET IN THE FUCKING SEA! DIE IN A FIRE! FUCK YOURSELF! SUCK YOURSELF! GET IN THE CUNTING-OCEAN AND SET YOUR BALLS ON FIRE WITH A LUMP OF POTASSIUM!

All of you, in fact. Get in the fucking rising sea. Drown. Die. Stop polluting the planet with the shit emitting from your worthless fucking mouths you weasel-brained, fuck-nosed, cockwombling, cunt-hammering, dick-splushing, gobbleshitting, twitchbarfing, pseudo-intellectual, screamo-fucking, planet-raping, brain-dead shits.

There’s no cure for being a Cunt…

Recently I spotted a great joke belittling and insulting a local political figure – I don’t want to give too many details away because it might be libellous and help identify the poster of the quote below, so let’s call this political figure “Beremy Cunt”. Now it’s capitalised it becomes a proper noun and therefore Not Offensive (*thumbs up and wide-eyed cheesy smile*). And we’ll call the Facebook page that posted it Dr… Grant. Yeah, let’s go with that one.

Dr Grant very regularly publishes content from professionals in Mr Cunt’s area that will be adversely affected by Cunt’s policies. These are people who know what they’re talking about, and are on the very forefront of the destructive shafting that will come from on high if Cunt is left unopposed. The vast majority of the posts from Dr Grant are on point, crossing foul-mouthed wit with well-argued points – people after my own heart, clearly.

In this case, however, they had posted a very insulting joke, and it generated the following comment. It’s not typical of the responses it generated, but it does represent an argument I’ve seen many times before.

While I’ve kept this completely anonymous (oh-so-ingeniously!) for reasons of tact, I’ll keep the quote verbatim rather than paraphrased:

As always, the supposed opposition reduce comments to the lowest level of insult. Clearly incapable of putting thoughts together. A sad reflection of modern politics; they just rant rant rant!

Yeah…

So, if you ignore all the articles they write in newspapers, the blog posts on personal websites, the tweets, the think-tank publications and analysis, the open letters and protest from the professionals-associated-with-Mr-Cunt’s-area-of-government, or basically anything that has been done to demonstrate exactly how bad the Cunt’s policies are… then yes, that’s exactly what those who oppose the government do and nothing else. The Opposition – we on the hideously pathetic left – do nothing more than rant rant rant and whine whine whine about our self-entitled selves without ever presenting an argument, ever. “Wah wah wah, insult, insult, insult!” cries the likes of Dr Grant at every opportunity not-counting-the-actual-serious-comments-and-posts-that-make-up-90%-of-the-content-because-ignore-them-they-don’t-fit-my-bullshit-narrative.

After all, if you ignore all of modern biology and thousands of papers written over the course of 150 years of scientific research, the only evidence for evolution is Facebook memes, and evilutionists have to fall back to crass insults to make their point, obviously.

This entire non-argument – “oh, you can’t really refute stuff so you resort to jokes!!” – pisses me the fuck off. Because I’ve never seen it said where it’s actually true. Not ever. It’s just uttered because it’s easy.

When people get their serious calls rejected and thrown back at them, then yes, they are going to vent at the lowest form of insult. Let’s imagine that a quarter of a million people signed a petition for Mr Cunt to be given a vote of no-confidence, and are promptly ignored and fobbed off with just re-stating Cunt’s position again without ever addressing the content of the petition… imagine that scenario. Imagine taking the time to lay out your position thoroughly, find hundreds of thousands of people agree, and earnestly deliver it as “I am very concerned about these events that affect me, please take them seriously” only to me met with a response of “meh” crossed with “let me slap you in the face with my semi-erect penis”.

Let’s imagine that is only the start of how much your serious calls, earnest arguments, and genuine complaints get thoroughly ignored at every level.

Imagine it.

I think in such a case people are very much allowed to get a little obnoxious. In fact, they have a right to get downright odiously pissy, uppity, obnoxiously, insulting, raging, angry, frothing, hissing, fitting, fucking, grrraaabbabaaabbrrrragggrrrrrraaaggghh.

It’s understandable to say the least.

Whether you find it tasteful or not, that’s simply what will happen when – by virtue of actively ignoring their actual arguments – you treat people with utter contempt for long enough. A mere crass insult is nothing compared to the contempt given to people when you take their serious complaints and shit on them so thoroughly. If you want to ignore 99% of the content, 99% of what people actually say, and go after the 1% of stuff that Morton’s Demon selectively lets through to your pitiful little brain, you’re a fucking idiot, and you certainly deserve all the belittling insults and rants you receive.

Don’t pretend that nothing except the belittling insults exist. Don’t be such a fucking Beremy about it.

So, to quote Dr Johnson, “Sir, I have found you an argument; but I am not obliged to find you an understanding, now fuck off and die in a fire already.”

Okay, so maybe Johnson didn’t say that last part, but that was surely the sentiment.

Yeah, totally.

“Political Correctness” is a myth, now stop being dicks

Last night, I ended up briefly channel hopping (you know, kids, that’s a thing we used to do before Netflix) and came across a BBC Four interview where some old, white-haired bearded guy was talking pretentiously in an interview about some arts subject or other. I forget the details, but suddenly, and seemingly apropos of nothing, he launched into some great tirade against “political correctness”.

“I’m sick of political correctness!” he moaned, “Where will it end?!” he screamed, practically jumping out of his chair and being the most animated he had been so far in the interview. Someone had apparently done something (I dunno, something like casting an actual black guy as Othello, that kind of madness) and my, my, was he angry about it.

The details are mere salad dressing and not worth my time to check out via iPlayer, the point is that this was an absurdly over-the-top reaction against what is, actually, just the concept of not treating people like shit. The haughty sense of self-entitlement; the weird bewilderment that someone might think or do slightly differently to how it was in the past; and the tutting and scoffing, oh my you should listen to that tutting and scoffing, it’s something to behold. As I’ve said before, we’re not offended, we’re something else entirely – but the people who deride others as “offended”, well, that’s what mere offence actually looks like.

He seemed hellishly offended by not treating people like shit.

At this point, it’s worth just quoting Neil Gaiman (I’ve said a similar thing before, but I’m not a world-famous author so he wins regardless of who said it first).

I was reading a book (about interjections, oddly enough) yesterday which included the phrase “In these days of political correctness…” talking about no longer making jokes that denigrated people for their culture or for the colour of their skin. And I thought, “That’s not actually anything to do with ‘political correctness’. That’s just treating other people with respect.”

Which made me oddly happy. I started imagining a world in which we replaced the phrase “politically correct” wherever we could with “treating other people with respect”, and it made me smile.

You should try it. It’s peculiarly enlightening.

I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “Oh my god, that’s treating other people with respect gone mad!”

It’s quite enlightening to view it that way. A little mad-lib goes a long way, and “political correctness” as a pair of words is ripe for it.

And when you do that, you find that there’s no such thing as political correctness. Really, is it a thing that exists? No.

I’ve certainly never seen it used as a self-identity. Its use seems to be exclusively reactionary; it’s a title given to “not treating people like shit” (as I put it) and “treating other people with respect” (as Gaiman put it) by people who are offended by such crazy notions, as the white-haired interviewee above clearly was. We hear “it’s political correctness gone mad” and “political correctness has gone too far” from reactionaries far more than we’d hear, for instance, “in order to be politically correct, you must…” from liberal progressives.

In fact, if you see a related term as an identity, it tends to be “politically incorrect”, as seen with Bill Maher’s show of the same name. People identify as politically incorrect, and wear that as a badge of honour; almost as if their entire raison d’être was to go out of their way to offend, hate, insult and belittled others for their mere differences, and as if their entire motivation for doing so was nothing except “because we can”.

…someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.

So while “incorrect” is a form of pride for reactionaries and their love of dickishness, it’s almost invisible the other way around. Quite literally, people who supposedly “are” politically correct never use the term; because we understand that, actually, we just want to treat people with respect and not like shit.

But it’s not just the term that’s absent. There is no underlying philosophy or cannonical book of rules to follow to be “politically correct”. I’m certainly not aware of it. There’s nothing that can go mad, and nothing that is there expanding and enveloping the world in its iron grip.

What of it tangibly exists? Well, individual guidelines from disability charities exist. These guide us on how to talk to and treat people with respect and dignity, particularly as they might run into issues us able-bodied folk won’t even see as “issues” – these shouldn’t have to exist, but they do. Occasionally I hear someone say they’d rather be referred to as a person of colour rather than as, say, “a towel-headed sand-nigger”. Sure, we have those sorts of guidelines, but they’re not one unified source of political correctness.

And if they were, what is so bad about that anyway?

Still, “PC” is not really a thing. It’s not even a set of rules declared from on high. We just ask  a series of questions and get a series of answers – some of the answers even consistently agree with each other. This monolithic “political correctness” is, actually, just thoughtful people asking other people how not to be a complete dick, and figuring it out from there.

“Erm, hi, I see you’ve… erm… gone through one of those ‘sex-change’ things, what do you call that?”

“I prefer to call it a ‘transition’, and I’d like to be known as a woman from now on and as a ‘she’, thanks.”

“Okay, cool. Will do… oooh, pretzels!”

My my, it’s fucking anarchy out there. It’s political correctness gone barking mad that I now have to call a woman a woman because she said she’s a woman. Jesus, where will it end?! What next, toddlers dressed as gimps? Am I not going to be allowed to shout at a deaf person? Will I have to treat someone in a wheelchair like they’re still a member of Homo sapiens? Do I now have to go about talking to women’s faces instead of their breasts? Gods-forbid I have to put any thought or effort into how I treat other people; that political correctness thing has just gone too far!

Look, guys, I get it. I really do. I understand that you’ve never had your position challenged or even pointed out to you before. That gives you a sense of what the “default” should be from a perspective, and it’s a valid perspective, but it’s limited to one only. You go around hopping up steps all day on your perfectly working legs, so you don’t get to see what it’s like to get up those steps with a crippling injury and the necessity of a fucking ramp. You read “inspirational” quotes next to pictures of Minions on JPEG files and think literally nothing of it because, thanks to functioning eyeballs, you don’t have to use a screen reader to interact with your computer. You’re completely de-sensitised to churches being everywhere in the country, but get antsy when it turns out there’s a mosque within a ten mile radius of your house simply because it’s unfamiliar, and strange, and it’s new so must be an encroachment of some kind. You’re male so you haven’t had the demeaning effect of wolf-whistling thrown at you, but you imagine it happening and you think it must be a compliment, and you’d love it to happen to you because your life doesn’t have the background context of conflicting pressures to be raucous-but-not-slutty, prim-but-not-prude, and nor do you feel the effects of tangible sexual assault statistics so you wonder what’s the harm as you shout “Smile, luv! You’ve got nice tits!” at someone for no fucking reason at all. You can hold hands with your heterosexual partner without consequence every day, and so not see the irony when you declare that two men holding hands in public counts as ‘ramming it down our throats’ because you’re not against gay people per se, just that…

You don’t get it because you’re not exposed to it – and when we ask you to think about it, it feels like effort. It feels like an affront to your fundamental rights to go about your business without thinking. It can be hard to jump out of your skin and think like someone else for a change. I’m one of those cis-gendered, heterosexual, able-bodied white guys, too – I know the unending struggle of culture treating you as the baseline for normal, the default for every entity, and the core market to tailor everything towards. And a brave new world that doesn’t put you in the middle can seem pretty scary, so it’s perfectly understandable if you don’t want it to change.

And that’s okay. It’s fine. We understand. It’s easy to change nothing, do nothing, and dismiss the other side as “politically correct” when they ask you to do something as outlandish as consider your behaviour, or to reflect upon your attitudes.

But understand that, by doing so, you’re being a dick.

If you want to wilfully and knowingly push back against “treating other people with respect” and “not treating people like shit”, then you’re being a dick.

If you want to make up this phantom rulebook that’s oppressing your ability to bluster about the world like you own it, no matter how it affects others because fuck them, you’re being a dick.

No-one is demanding perfection first time (fuck, I’m far from it and I know it), but if you don’t at least take it on the chin and think, and instead double-down on your position, decrying “political correctness” because we told you to stop saying “coon” all the fucking time, you’re being a dick.

If you think it’s political correctness gone too far simply because in 2015 we don’t think it’s appropriate to replicate the racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, hate, disgust, mistrust, abuse, and horrible attitudes of the past, you’re being a decrepit old dinosaur who needs to die of old age already so us smart people can get on with fixing things. And you’re being a dick.

Can we please all stop being dicks?

Percentages (Procedures vs Understanding)

I can’t remember if I’ve ranted about this before somewhere, but here it is for posterity anyway.

Have you ever noticed how at school you’re taught this:

percent

Basic percentages. Divide your numbers, multiply by 100, and you get your percentage. Easy, simple, procedural, and easily rattled off in an exam.

Except, no. No. Not at all. You don’t multiply by 100. That gets you the number, it doesn’t get you the percentage. “100*(14/20)” gets you “70”, not “70%”.

This is because by its own definition, a percentage is a fraction, where by one full unit is normalised to “100”. So 70%, as a digital number, is 0.7.* As a fraction, 70% is 7/10, or 14/20 or 70/100. It is not equivalent to 70. Although it’s implied to get you that number (the equivalent implicit multiplication by 1,000 gets you the rarely used “per-mille” unit, ‰), at no point does multiplying by 100 actually get that actual percentage. It’s effectively included in the definition already.

* It could be anything, of course. 70% of 2 is 1.4 – but you get that by multiplying 2 by 0.7, not by 1.4 or by 70. In any case, the whole thing itself, no matter what it is, is normalised to 100, the equivalent decimal is normalised to 1 the same way.

Have you ever looked at the “%” and “‰” symbols?

In fact, the word “per” usually translates to “divided by” (kilometres per hour means kilometres travelled divided by the time taken) and “cent” means 100. So “percent” means “divided by 100”. The symbol “%” is quite literally a unit, and the unit conveys meaning just as much as km/hr or m/s or Js or Kgm-2s-2. And sticking numbers in there and having a “per hundred” or “per 250” or something like that isn’t unheard of, and pops up whenever it’s convenient to rescale your units to sensible numbers. That’s already what we do when we talk about “kilometers per hour” because the SI unit is the metre, so kph is actually “1,000 meters per hour” – or “1,000 meters per 3,600 seconds” since we may as well go all out on this.

What you have really written when you’ve formally put “x100” in your expression/equation is the following:

percent_2

“(14/20) * 100 = 70%” implies that “7,000 = 70”. Which is absurd.

If you take out that “x100” you get 14/20 = 70/100 = 70%, which is arithmetically correct.

So far, so obnoxiously trivial.

But I think from a pedagogical point of view this might, actually, be quite important. Not just in a narrow, pedantic sense about a bit of numeracy, but in a wider sense about how we (by which, I mean “schools”) teach things as procedures to be followed, rather than as concepts to be applied and understood. The “x100” bit is certainly implied, and it gets you the right number, but it’s not a formal part of getting you the percentage. Sticking it there as a formality strips out understanding percentages, and changes it into a set of steps to be triggered one after each other, without stopping to think about exactly what is happening.

The trouble with procedural steps is that they then only get applied to one situation and one situation only. Thinking about “%” as a unit that means “per 100” is, in fact, incredibly powerful, as looking at units and letting them guide you will let you blag your way through physics, mechanics, thermodynamics, kinetics and near-enough all times that arithmetic rears its head in science. But no, every school kid out there is left just thinking that when they want a “%”, they need to divide and multiply by 100. It’s nothing but sticking a bit of trivia into a drop down menu to be used in a few narrow situations.

And not to mention that procedural steps put together are notoriously difficult to recall. For anyone with even a mild gift at numbers the percent thing might look too simple, so to illustrate this let’s jump to an example from chemistry:

That’s a rotary evaporator, a common piece of laboratory equipment for evaporating solvents – whenever you see a generic scientist on the TV and they’re not using a Gilson pipette, they’ll probably be using a rotovap. The thing just screams “lab” at you.

The main aim is to use a water bath to heat a sample and evaporate solvent. It also uses a reduced pressure so that you don’t need as much heat to do it – the vacuum does the hard work for you. It’s a fairly simple piece of kit under all that mess, and only a handful of components are involved. Yet the first time an undergraduate chemist sees one they practically shit themselves.

So what’s the first thing a student will look for? Of course, the instructions – usually a point-by-point procedure on how to go about doing it.

And they read the procedure.

And they follow it.

And they do it.

And, hell, they successfully complete the task without getting parts of their body stuck in a lettuce and screaming “my god, the blood, it’s everywhere!”.

And then they promptly forget how to do it less than ten minutes later.

I’m not kidding, the recall on using these things is fucking appalling if all students are given is the step-by-step instructions.

It’s not because the equipment is particularly complicated. It’s just that when written out formally the procedure is about a dozen steps long, and it induces a sudden panic about doing things in the right order. “Do I do this before that? Do I turn this valve first or press this button first, and… oh gods, when do I turn this dial and when do I stop it… and…”

Well, pretty soon you’re dealing with a supposedly grown adult freaking the fuck out.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If you know why the bloody thing works in the first place, the procedure pretty much writes itself.

“Do I lower the flask into the water first, or turn the vacuum on first?” Well, if you know that the vacuum lowers the boiling point of the solvent, then you’ll know that heating it up first, and then turning the vacuum on risks flash-boiling the entire thing as you lower the boiling point to below the water bath’s temperature. If you turn the vacuum on first, then the pressure lowers, the solvent evaporates, adiabatic expansion cools it down, then you warm it up by lowering the flask into the water bath.

The same thing applies to gas lines, where instructions tend to be along the lines of “Open tap 1, now close tap 5, after that close tap 6 and open tap 2 slowly, break the seal on tap 4 and close tap 1 again…” Even I glaze over reading those things andknow what the hell I’m doing with that kit! Yet if you ask “now, what do you need to expose to the vacuum pump right now?” and let them figure out which tap to open, they can usually do it. You might have to stop, flick them on the nose, and actually prompt the question, but it’s absolutely not beyond the capabilities of someone to figure it out on their own. The procedure writes itself.

It’s a bit more information to take in at first, and it might be quite a bit of effort to actually teach it compared to writing down the procedural list. But you can’t get the procedure wrong once you’ve learned the actual inner workings of the equipment: because the wrong procedure makes no sense at all.

And that can apply back to percentages, too. Someone just taught it might ask “I can’t remember, do I divide by 100, or multiply by 100 to get the percentage?” Don’t laugh there, anyone just taught to rote-memorise the procedure can seriously fall into that trap. But when you actually know what “%” means, that question literally answers itself.

How Not To Apply The Cherry Picking Fallacy

First, this was going to be a Facebook comment – then I couldn’t be bothered to get into a fight.

Then it was going to be in one of those status things – then it got incredibly long.

Now it’s bloggified and going here for permanence and posterity. I had such high hopes for more productivity this afternoon… feel free to ignore this. It’s just a rant. An intentionally absurd one, I must add.

The subject is Game of Thrones. Yes, I am a fan. Yes, I love it. Yes, I watch it through exactly the same method as everyone else in the world. The specific subject is Oberyn Martell’s scene in the brothel from the first episode of season 4. GoT has never shied away from what has been dubbed “sexposition”,[1] so while for some people this scene was shocking in its horrifically objectifying treatment of women, for fans it was Sunday. Actually, the biggest shock for me is that it took 12 minutes to get to the boobs. The writers are slipping.

So here’s the accusation I’m going to respond to: that this is a cherry picking fallacy, and that it’s such a fallacy because everyone ignores the fact that there was a male prostitute in the scene,  therefore there is no actual objectification of women going on.

But this is bullshit. It is not cherry picking. It’s nothing of the kind.

First, “cherry picking” refers to selectively using data to support your conclusions while knowingly ignoring evidence and data detrimental to your case. E.g., medical studies where you look only where a medicine worked and not at where it failed.

So far, so obvious.

Unfortunately for this argument regarding objectification, the existence of a male prostitute in a scene, who is also treated like shit, isn’t detrimental to the fact, observation and commentary that women are being treated as shit in the same scene. It just isn’t – it’s not a balancing act and it’s not a numerical question. All this says is that there were characters of both sex/gender being on the submissive side of a scene. Whoop-dee-do, have a prize for spotting that. If we’re talking about one set of effects, and one set of examples, and only looking at those examples, it’s not cherry picking to seek out those examples and those examples only. If I want to find out something about Fords, it’s not cherry picking to ignore the Vauxhalls because the existence of Vauxhalls doesn’t magically cancel out what I’m looking for in Fords. The top speed of an Astra doesn’t change the top speed of a Focus, the treatment of a male character doesn’t change the treatment of a female character. There’s no magical cancellation going on because a male character gets put in the same situation (well, not quite the *same* if you watch it, but let’s ignore the nuance of a more convoluted power structure in that scene for now).[2]

But let’s assume this was a numerical question, and therefore the existence of an apparently contrary piece of information did, in fact, cancel out the cherry picked examples. In that case, we’d need to assign numbers to it. If you can’t, then you can’t do the balancing, you can’t do cherry picking, you have to show that one thing cancels the other equally to get an overall total. Since the hypothesis begs the question of equality anyway, we may as well use equal weighting and each character gets |1|. If there’s a male character in power in the scene, let’s call it +1, and if there’s a female character in power, add -1 to the total. Similarly, if a female character is treated like shit, it’s +1 and a male character being treated like shit is -1 (see how that works, if we end up in positive numbers at the end, men are in power, women are overall being treated like shit).

Now, I know what you’re thinking – presuming you’re a sensible person. And I agree with you. Of course this is absurd. It’s the most absurd approach to this you could make. But I didn’t call it cherry picking, and I never implied that this is how it works. If you want to accuse someone of cherry picking, you need to be prepared to make this sort of balancing act out of the non-picked examples – and if the balancing act is absurd, then the accusation of cherry picking is absurd.

If we then add up the numbers in said prostitute scene from Game of Thrones, we have Oberyn, which is +1 and then Ellaria who counts as -1 (again, assuming non complex power dynamics between those two). So the characters in power in the scene balance out to zero. Next we have three female prostitutes, which is +3 and one male prostitute, which is -1.

Oh… oh dear.

We can see things don’t balance at all in this case. Even if we don’t “cherry pick”, the numerical data comes out as +2. Overall, mathematically, women are being treated like crap in that scene. There you go.

Yes, it’s a dumb-ass argument to make. It really is. And I agree the above is totally stupid. But hey, if someone is going to call a fallacy in a dumb-ass way, they have a dumb-ass response coming.


[1] I don’t actually think this objectification of women is a problem in the series, per se – because the series’ treatment of women is never depicted as an objectively “good thing”. G.R.R. Martin never presents Westeros as some idealistic paradise – it’s a brutal shit hole. Contrast John Norman’s Gor series to, say, the rape of Lisbeth Salander in the Millennium series – both depict women on the receiving end of significant abuse, only one says “hey, this is awesome!!”. Depiction is everything, and endorsement is the issue that needs looked at. But I do totally and emphatically object to people thinking it isn’t a problem for bad reasons, and then dismissing criticism out of hand. Certainly the outright dismissal, without any consideration at all, of the sex and exploitation in the series as something that only whiny people complain about is a bigger problem than the actual sex and exploitation itself! This is because it’s evidence of how entrenched our view is that it’s okay to treat women badly, it’s okay to find any excuse for it. No one seems to want to say “look, this is a bad thing and the series treats it as a bad thing, and we should be mature enough to accept that as some sort of fable and not as an example to follow”, but plenty of people seem willing to jump to “oh, it’s just entertainment” or “oh, look, a man was treated badly too therefore it’s okay”. No it’s not okay because of that, that’s not the fucking point. Anyway..

[2] Oh, while I’m on a roll with magical cancellation effects that don’t exist – the blood and violence in GoT don’t magically cancel out the sex either. They’re different, unrelated things. If anything, the lack of complaints towards the violence demonstrate society’s desensitisation to it. If you want to see what society’s desensitisation to the ill-treatment of women looks like, read up on the Steubenville rape case where the female victim was treated like a nasty slut who deserved it while her abusers were treated with “oh my, what ever will happen to their football careers?!” sympathy. You know, that sort of shit.