Monday, April 19, 2010

What football isn't.

Election season – oh joy! Would anybody like to buy an analogy? It’s a bit tenuous, not going to last that long, but should see you safely over the next 800 words. So far, choosing an MP has been likened to one’s favourite pudding , something to do with monkeys , choosing a pet , and now – “It is, in part, like supporting one football team over another” .

Well, no. No it isn’t.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

How to choose an MP for your (hard-working) family

Now the date of the election has been confirmed, causing gasps of surprise all over the country, many people, fed up to the pre-molars with politicians of all stripes, are wondering who to vote for. To make this process a little bit easier, let us draw a parallel with choosing a pet. Many of the same factors impact on both decisions: financial resources, work situation / time available, size and location of property, how long you expect them to last, and allergies.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Culture, Schmulture – or, what are books for?

A recent semi-discussion on the Waddya[1] thread dealt with the interesting issue of “high-culture” v “chewing-gum for the brain” (thank you BB) books. There are some books that one simply must read, the theory goes, to be anything approaching ‘well-read’ – which also function as indicators of intelligence without requiring any actual thought on the part of the read. It is enough to have read War and Peace, NapoleonKaramazov observes, as it has “become synonymous with intellect”. This reminds me a bit of the exchange in a Fish Called Wanda (now, that’s what I call culture), where Otto protests at Wanda calling him ‘an ape’: “Apes don’t read philosophy!” – “Yes they do, Otto”, Wanda responds, “They just don’t understand it.[2]

Monday, March 1, 2010

There's No Team in I

Recently, I have been so moved as to post some opinions on football. This has involved not only seeking to educate my fellow CIFfers on some of the important tax-related issues facing the club system, but also, shockingly, opining on actual games, focussing on Manchester City FC. One result of this is that I have discovered that AllyF and PeterJackson are City fans, which is nice, but there is also a slight feeling of uncertainty, even shame, because...

I have no team.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Buy this argument. Other arguments are available.

Advertising is immoral.

It felt good to type that.

The US Supreme Court may have ruled on several occasions* that advertising is protected by the First Amendment right to ‘freedom of speech’ , but that isn’t completely correct – advertising is the freedom to buy the opportunity to express speech. As individuals, we have freedom of speech – but those people we hear from most are those with some status, whether this results from their position or their popularity, both of which imply that the right not just to speak, but to be heard, is somehow ‘earned’. Advertising, on the other hand, is simply paid for.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Religion: the new Homeopathy?

In relation to the recent homeopathy thread[1], a parallel was drawn between supporting homeopathy and following religion. This seemingly appropriate parallel was employed by several ‘allopaths’ to demonstrate that people will indeed believe any old crap, without rhyme or reason. It was also employed, off-thread, to call for a less combative approach towards the ‘homeopaths’ (both groups named purely for convenience).

I do not believe that the parallel is accurate. Those who have noticed that my woolly-minded Methodism combines with an antipathy towards homeopathy will no doubt be thinking “well, she would say that, wouldn’t she?”, but bear with me.

It is probably more accurate to say that the parallel is not wholly accurate, but there may be some mutually applicable principles.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Resolutely not joining in

The lovely thing about liberalism is that it permits rather than proscribes - better to allow gay marriage / abortion /what-have-you and let those that don't want one opt out, than set strict social norms and ban everything in sight. In utility terms, it just makes more sense. But a weird transformation has taken place such that this free-an'-easy approach, while valuable in relation to important issues, has become almost prescriptive.