My name is Bob Rogers. I am a math professor at Virginia Tech. I work in McBryde Hall, a few doors down from Norris. I was on the fifth floor watching as the swat teams moved in. And as the bodies were carried out.(It's in a thread whose title is Tragedies as Occasions for Discussing Ways To Prevent Repeat Tragedies; the exchange above between Mark and me has been mirrored by a number of people on various blogs.) So I am factually wrong about who's going to be hitting refresh on their RSS feeds.
You callous, unfeeling assholes on both sides can have your precious intellectual discussions before the blood has dried. I'll just sit hear and wait to hear which of my friends has been killed. If you pass a jagged 5mm kidney stone some time tonight, please let me know.
More people probably read these words of mine at Mark Evanier's blog than have read anything else of mine, put together, so I guess I should link to it here. On the afternoon of the Virginia tech massacre, Mark -- after watching God knows what kind of morons on cable TV and/or reading blogs -- wrote this:
I think we can best honor the memory of the victims by using the tragedy to lobby hard for our particular views on Gun Control. Whatever you believe, just insist that this proves you're right. Hey, if you can use it to swing a little public sentiment in your direction, you may even be glad all those people were shot.That last part really pissed me off, so here's what I sent him, which he posted:
His answer follows at the link.
On your 2:21 pm posting: you're painting with a terribly broad brush, and it follows jarringly on the heels of the Colbert posting, in particular this of Colbert's: "Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don't learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us."
I think you're expressing a cynicism (that isn't typical of you, from what else I've read) that all political debate is just opportunism, and that it is inappropriate to take the bloodiest school shooting in history and use it to talk about those elements of gun policy that someone sincerely believes contributed to it. I disagree, presuming that we're talking about people arguing in good faith. I can certainly understand you not wanting to invite a swarm of gun control emails, and perhaps your sarcastic both-sides-be-damned approach seemed like a way of avoiding that. Nevertheless, "referring" to both sides at once, by abstracting away any actual position and turning to phrases like "whatever you believe," comes across as spitting on the concept of having a position, or believing that it matters. You also seem to show contempt for the idea that one side might actually be right, even though both sides continue to behave in the "same" manner by persisting in arguing for their side.
The point of the discussion that I'm sure is playing out on blogs and on TV is not to "honor the memory" of those who died. Their survivors will not be spending the next several days hitting refresh on their RSS readers to follow the discussion, or watching cable news. If I strongly believe that implementing my position would save 32 more lives in another event, the time to argue for it is now, not later, and I think that can be done without disrespecting the dead.
Finally, that bit about "you may even be glad all those people were shot": that's another thing that's worse, not better, from naming no names, or sides of the issue. Maybe you've been watching cable news all day, and someone you've seen deserves it, but from out here, it's just a terrible accusation looking for a target.
If I were writing it again, I'd be more careful about unwinding his sarcasm, but, relevant to my statement
Their survivors will not be spending the next several days hitting refresh on their RSS readers to follow the discussion, or watching cable news.I should admit to finding this comment at The Volokh Conspiracy, from 7:32 that evening:
America's Cutest Puppies. Next: Animals Close Up with a Wide Angle Lens with Hats, as seen on South Park.
Mozart opera in English...and subtitled in English. If you have to subtitle it, doesn't that suggest that translating it into English failed to make it comprehensible? (OK, I admit that the intermittent spoken dialog works.)
Looks great in HD, though.
Destiny. Unless these people are lying. From Dan Radosh.
Why is Planet of the Apes running on the History Channel? (That link will expire at some point, but it's good for a couple of weeks, I think.)
...make Kosher-for-Passover Easter candy. I checked quickly and nobody seems to have cornered this market.
Everything's Hofstadter-y once you remember how to think that way. For instance: On Sunday's Meet the Press, Orrin Hatch said this about fired US Attorney Carol Lam:
She was a former law professor, no prosecutorial experience, and the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton...In Josh Marshall's words,
Lam has never been a law professor, was an Assistant US Attorney for 14+ years and, of course, was never a campaign manager for Bill Clinton. Except for that, well...Hatch's...retraction?
My comments about Carol Lam's record as a U.S. Attorney were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing politically connected U.S. Attorneys. I accidentally used her name, instead of her predecessor, Alan Bersin, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton.So here's the question: you and I may say that Hatch was wrong, but might it not be fairer to say that he was just right, but about something else?
But this has potential:
My comments about Carol Lam's record as a U.S. President were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing Presidents who were never actually President. I accidentally used her name, instead of Benjamin Franklin.
My comments about Carol Lam's record as a U.S. State were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing states that are shaped like mittens. I accidentally used her name, instead of Michigan if you don't count that funny other piece.
My comments about Carol Lam's record as a fictional sea-faring vessel were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing ships in 19th-century American literature. I accidentally used her name, instead of the Pequod.
My comments about Carol Lam's record as a controversial branch of Judaism were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing Jewish women wearing tallises. I accidentally used her name, instead of Reconstructionism.
My comments about Carol Lam's record as "that being than which no greater can be conceived" were accurate, but I misspoke when making the point of discussing deities whose existence can best be established by odd medieval philosophers. I accidentally used her name, instead of Dice-K. He's not? Well, tell that to the Boston sports media.
Comment at Unfogged:
My daughters, who just turned four, appear to be at the height of their advice-giving powers. The other day Siobhan said, "Daddy! Let's pretend we're sleeping, and this is our dream!"Which reminds me, the Hofstadter book arrived. He's still the only author I know who has a characteristic typeface. That's all I got so far.
The people at teevee.org don't post nearly as often as they used to. They must save it up for the April's Fool specials.
This is one of my favorite awful jokes, mostly because it comes out of nowhere. It's from the Rugrats Passover special, which I watched a few years ago because I kept hearing that it was notably good. I had intended to video capture it as a seasonal special, but my video capture hardware stopped working, and when I reinstalled its software it stopped working even worse...so here's a transcript. The setup is that Angelica, the three-year-old who pushes around the smaller kids (babies), is Pharaoh; following the 10 plagues, she's just freed her slaves, who are played by the babies. The next morning:
Pharaoh: Bring me some Reptar cereal!
Servant: Uh, um, Miss Pharaoh ma'am, we're all out.
Pharaoh: Out? How can we be out of Reptar cereal?
Servant: Well, see, the slave baby who's supposed to get the cereal every morning was set free.
Pharaoh: Well, would you please tell me what moron set free the Reptar cereal slave?
Servant: Uh, you did.
Pharaoh: Oh, yeah. Well, forget him then! I'll just have a nice cold glass of goat's milk.
Servant: Um....you let the milk slave go free too.
Pharaoh: OK then, in that case I'll just have a long hot bath.
[Servant grimaces nervously.]
Pharaoh: You mean, I threw out the baby with the bathwater, too?
Adult viewers: Oh, for the love of God.