The futility blog

If you’ve spent any time reading blogs, you’ve seen at least a few of them that, rather than serving as a linear chronicle of events and ideas sharing a common theme in the writer’s life, center on a particular event, purpose or goal. In a typical runner’s blog, the writer describes his training and races and daily experiences, with the implicit idea that the blog will be regularly updated until the writer gets sick of it or quits running or no longer has the time. It’s essentially a journal, nothing more. But sometimes people start blogs with titles like “My Journey to the 2016 Olympic Trials,” or “Getting to the Bottom of Russian Doping” that have either a fixed temporal endpoint or a finite purpose or both.

With the latter type, you’ll often discover right away that the person behind the blog has a goal he or she stands no realistic chance of attaining, either because the goal is worthy but simply out of the blogger’s reach (for example, a 40-year-old man with a marathon best of 2:50 hoping to make the Olympic Trials standard of 2:19) or the entire scheme is founded on delusional thinking or ferociously corrupt logic (say, a runner who predicts that a Nepalese marathoner will set a world record this fall because of sherpas’ proven ability to perform yeoman physical feats in the presence of very little oxygen). In such cases, you have unearthed a genuine futility blog. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bad ersatz-Christian logic, #349 in a series: “If you say there’s no God, you appoint yourself God.”

First of all, I should explain what I mean by by an ersatz Christian. To me, this describes anyone who ignores the idea that Christianity — despite the wreck it’s been turned into in both recent and less-recent periods in world history, the methodically violent and otherwise destructive directives in the Old Testament, the fact that the being its the core is undoubtedly mythical — is supposed to be a force for good. It is supposed to be about forgiveness, humanity, humility, equality, and other outstanding human traits and states of mind.

Now, many atheists may understandably suggest I am being overly accommodating by suggesting that Christians who say and do stupid things, especially when those things have scriptural justification, are not genuine Christians — that I am indulging in a “no true Scotsman” logical fallacy. Perhaps, but the fact is that I do know Christians, more than a few of them, who so in fact have no use for the divisive LGBT bullshit or the shoehorning of creationism into public schools or the mindless opposition to things like embryonic stem-cell research and Planned Parenthood Gardasil on religious grounds. They are generous and kind, often more so than I will ever be, and these people are the ones I choose to view Christians. The noisy louts are the feminism’s answer to feminist women who really do hate men and position themselves as women’s advocates almost solely on this platform, or the skeptical community’s counterpart to people who consider themselves roundly rational simply because they make the facile choice to not believe in the existence of deities.

Anyway, that digression leaves me looking at yet another shitburst from a bottom-of-the-barrel right-wing squawking head and self-described Evangelical Christian, Skip Murphy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Camille Paglia on Election 2016: Whether 2 plus 2 might equal 5 for sufficiently large values of 2 is anyone’s guess

This is unbelievably bad by the standards of both Salon and Camille Paglia, which is like saying that Donald Trump just said something amazingly ignorant about foreign policy, the economy, Christiani…oops! I’m not supposed to do that, because, see, as Paglia scolds, liberals are responsible for the explosive rise of Trump to the top of the Republican shitheap. (Andrew Sullivan has been saying the same thing, almost as tediously and tendentiously.)

Paglia asserts that Democrats have been “playing the race and riot cards against him to the max.” While I’ve never heard of the “riot card” before. I am mystified as to what the appropriate response to people disturbed by racist comments from a leading political candidate should look like. Feigning deafness? Nervous giggling? Sighing, “Ah, that scamp, he’s a bit much, but he’s just trying to breathe life into things”?

Paglia seems oblivious to the fact that Republicans have been pillorying Trump for the same things, as loudly as they dared, throughout the campaign. Well, except for respected voices such as David Duke, The American Freedom Party, the Ku Klux Klan, and various other Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, who in viewing Trump as a racist might as well be shouting their closet liberalism from the rooftops, on Paglia’s view.

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NY Times’ “The Biggest Loser” article light on key facts

It would be great if an acclaimed — and more importantly, extremely widely read — U.S. newspaper could boast “Health” and “Science” sections that boasted consistently impressive articles. This one is getting a lot of attention, and with good reason: something like two-thirds of adult Americans are considered overweight, millions of them are trying to shed pounds, and Gina Kolata’s article in effect conveys the message that they are screwed.

I’m going to assume that anyone reading this has read the article and the study it draws from or at least has tabs open to these, because I am not going to review it in depth.

A couple of very quick, seemingly obvious, and (perhaps deliberately) underemphasized or omitted points:

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Curious George Will

George Will is a hack. A very glib one, who can deftly turn a phrase and whose columns are usually worth a read for their literary dynamism alone. But he’s still nothing more than a blindly partisan shill.

Here he proclaims that Donald Trump has done serious damage to the Republican Party, but that the destruction has only really just started and that if he’s nominated, the damage will only multiply. What he ignores is that Trump didn’t himself knock the down the door allowing undisguised bozos to walk into the GOP clubhouse; other Republicans started tearing this door off its frames years ago, and Trump has merely strolled through the now-unguarded opening, yammering and telling off-color jokes in a manner reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Back to School.” Trump did not create Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Steve King, Jan Brewer, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rick Scott, Orrin Hatch, Paul LePage, Mike Pence, Sam Brownback, or, most recently, Pat McCrory or Robert Bentley.

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When everything you say is a witty rejoinder

then-why-are-there-still-wolves-meme-320-px-tiny-Dec-2015-Tetrapod-ZoologyIt must be nice, in a sense, to be sufficiently simple-minded to believe that every analogy, comparison and analysis you create or borrow —  even when every last one is a dismal logical failure — is are not only coherent, but clever. (On top of that, fart jokes and Bazooka Joe comics are, no doubt, a never-ending gift of titillation to abject simpletons.) One such trope that is unlikely to disappear is “If we’re evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” This is the kind of outburst that, despite being inexcusably stupid on multiple levels, can cause whole congregations to erupt in wild, heartfelt applause.

And on the topic of self-reinforcing inanity, I just read this in one of several manufacturing plants of self-contained electronic ketamine that I really should quit frequenting:

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Just braying: regarding a boilerplate “We’re not bigots, it’s about the kids!” rant

I admit that in my experience, people who are overly fond of the phrase “just saying” usually have few if any intelligent things to say. It’s a close  rhetorical cousin of “‘Nuff said” and “True dat.” Unbeknownst to those who use it, the phrase is essentially code for “I know you’ll tear into this and rightly so, but I can’t help myself,” and shallow thinkers often append it to written or spoken opinions as a means substituting glibness for reason. It’s like saying “My bad” instead of offering a real apology or some sort of reparations for harm done, and does nothing to bolster an irredeemably foolish idea.

So when I happened across this startlingly stupid post by someone named Kathy Dunton on a blog with a title that starts with “Just Saying,” I was admittedly not expecting much of substance or value. Still, even the most open-minded reading of this bullshit does nothing more than open one’s mind to being flooded with bullshit. As it were. Get my drift? You feelin’ me? Werd!

The post is an open letter of sorts to transgender people, and asks them to understand that recent legislation coupling clear anti-transgender motives and actions to a dose of straight-up anti-gay nonsense isn’t really about transphobia or homophobia; it’s about keeping kids safe from sexual predators.

Taking it from the top:

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The solution to the campus-rape problem: Keep women out of colleges

No, really, I just read this sentiment and it’s not an intentional joke.

This counter to the “One in five female college students has been raped” trope may well be the dumbest thing I have seen the blinkered jackwad labeled Skip Murphy write yet, and because his chief mission in life is churning out the screeds of a benighted jackwad, the competition for this dubious honor is extraordinarily fierce. If you’re a runner, think of trying to come up with the most inspiring race or racing moment in the career of Haile Gebrselassie, and you get a sense of how difficult it is to properly stratify the sodden turds in the Granite Grok verbal sewage stream.

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“Don’t listen to him, he’s as dumb as me! Listen to me instead!”

Sometimes the lack of basic reasoning skills possessed by pseudo-pundits like Sarah Palin is as profound as their general ignorance.

Palin is claiming that Bill Nye lacks the credentials and background to be commenting on scientific issues like global warming — even comparing him to *herself* by way of trying undermine his statements.

Even if she were right about Nye, who worked as an engineer for years before becoming the popularizer of science he’s best known for being, how does she expect to be taken seriously if she admits that she has no business talking about about climate change even as she continues offering her own childishly stupid ideas about it? How intellectually crippled does one’s audience have to be to hear someone say, almost flat-out, “Don’t listen to him, he’s as dumb as me! Listen to me instead!”

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Invariably dropping the “f” in”pro-life”

“I think about the public outcry that there was for an elk, and I think about the thousands of babies — healthy, full-term babies — that are killed down the street from where they paraded a stupid elk down the road.”

So spoke Abby Johnson to about 300 people on the campus of the University of Colorado as part an anti-abortion talk, or rant, or fever-dream soliloquy, or whatever description best fits

Abortion is an unpleasant topic and for obvious reasons is extremely emotionally charged. This, however, no excuse for slinging bullshit. If self-described anti-abortion crusaders were barred from lying or making abysmal analogies at nearly every opportunity, almost all of them would immediately fall mute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Conservatroll makes up numbers, film at 11

Another sine qua non of being a right-wingnut is refusing to embrace positive findings if a Democratic president stands to take any credit for them. GraniteGrok now has a post claiming that the estimated 14.4 million jobs the U.S. has added in the past six years don’t mean much:

“[T]hat job growth is stretched over almost six full years, during which time the working age population grew by 15.8 million. In that respect, we’ve lost ground on jobs under Obama … Continued growth is good but ONLY if it keeps up with population growth … it is clear, simply by results, that the Obama Administration’s actions (based on socialist / Statists philosophy) have come up way short.”

Skip is talking out of his ass, which has to be crippled by pseudo-laryngitis by now.

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Regulating the wrong guns

11953185_10153189044612149_2727887019999792664_nThe social philosophers that operate incoherent goofblogs have a fondness for the word “hoplophobe” (except that to them it’s sometimes “Hoplophobe,” in the Fine Wingnut tradition Of Capitalizing random Words) to characterize anyone who supports anything pertaining to the purchase, possession, or use of firearms, period. Owing to the fact that every once in a while, something like this happens — even though the media never reports such things, of course — they reckon that anyone proposing that it is entirely unnecessary to allow, say, an Uzi to be toted into the U.S. Capitol by a civilian covered in swastika tattoos is simply fearful of guns in all their forms.

This is one of countless ironies emanating from the far right. Given its members’ collective stance on homosexuality, pornography, premarital sex, abortion, contraception, and even sex toys — at least the one they project to the world — it’s not surprising that they want to regulate practically everything pertaining to human genitalia, and to a far greater degree than most liberals want to regulate guns.

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Another unintended consequence of Trump’s campaign

Is dipshits squaring off against morons, much like the street-fight scene in the original Anchorman.

This is a textbook display of blaming the woman victim of male aggression, right down to the guy doing the blaming being an inbred-looking halfwit in his sixties who still thinks yo-momma jokes and dragging people’s girlfriends into petty Internet wars are not only clever but an effective means of chasing off your betters when you have unwisely picked fights with them.

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Being John Milkovich…

…means being a stinky-assed liar.

It’s one thing to remain a creationist in the face of incalculable amounts of scientific evidence undermining every possible rational justification for your position — to just stick out your tongue and say “Fuck y’all, I’m a Faptist and CHOOSE to believe the Bible.”

But it’s another thing to sit in a legislative session and proclaim with a straight face to your colleagues that there exists scientific evidence to support creationism. Even the most far-gone idiot knows this…I think.

Imagine the outrage that would ensue if some elitist liberal politician with a bunch of letters after her name stood up in told U.S. Congress that the latest research in psychology demonstrates that raising your child to believe anything in the Bible would likely lead to bedwetting, ADHD, compulsive masturbation, fecal incontinence, acne, intractable body odor, and a fondness for Justin Bieber in adolescence. People would rightfully start demanding evidence for this claim, which is on no less solid ground than Milkovitch’s.

(This guy is a Democrat, by the way.)

 

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What’s their excuse when it’s not April 1? (Anti-abortion edition)

While it’s amusing to watch the misplaced triumph of creationists after lobbing a nonsense challenge at an atheist and getting no answer, be sure not to give short shrift to the garbage that some abortion opponents come up with. For example:

“If human life doesn’t begin at conception, can you please explain how human life is possible absent conception?”

Not surprisingly, this is what this passes for a “Gotcha!” question among these fools: Two strawmen for the price of one, or if you prefer, a flawed premise coupled to a non-sequitur. Read the rest of this entry »

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Your ignorance is not contingent on my disagreeing with you

I’m not sure why it’s so hard for even low-wattage thinkers to see the problem with shit like this:

You have the freedom to agree with me.  Else you are a homophobic, misogynistic, xenophobic, transphobix, racist bigot.  How DARE you don’t want to belong to our monoculture!!!!

Since the writer is not in danger of being mistaken for Mark Twain or even Ted Nugent, I will spell out that this is an attempt at sarcasm, and that in this attempt, Skip Murphy is trying mightily to express the wildly unoriginal idea that some people (in this case college students, but he means liberals in general) simply don’t want to entertain alternatives to their crazy, belligerent nonsense. No, it’s worse than that — those liberals are the REAL bigots for calling people out!!!!

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And what kind of idiots read just to *learn* stuff?

Someone really could turn mocking the stupidity posted on just this one blog into a full-time job, if there were money to be made in mocking nameless dingbats.

Like all right-wing echo-chambers, this one is characterized by the big three traits of confused and angry Americans: Lying, delusional belief systems, and hypocrisy. At times, though, bursts of incidental honesty provide a few cheap laughs.

It’s fine that not everyone cares to exercise for the sake of fun or health or sport. But why anyone on a blog populated by visibly unfit individuals would actually malign physical activity for the sake of activity would be a mystery if the grisly lack of self-awareness of these bloggers wasn’t already well established.

The entire post is nothing more than a quote and a picture of a random younger guy using an elliptical trainer. The first line of the quote is “Physical work without producing something is alien to my mind.”

To each her own, I guess; to me, expending the physical work of writing words without producing a single useful observation is a far more profligate waste of time, since it won’t make you fitter or leaner or sharper.

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Easter, the M. Night Shamalayan screenplay of holidays

Whatever your religious views or lack thereof, Easter is, indisputably, one bizarre holiday, at least in the U.S., which has an established penchant for contorting already strange celebrations into gauche and tasteless displays of excess and egoism.

Every year on Easter Sunday, the more devout among us declare, “He is risen!” in precise response to the fact that another year has gone by with no such thing taking place at all. Conspicuously.

The return of Jesus, by any reasonable interpretation of scripture, is long, long overdue. If he were a library book, someone would owe about $4 billion in fines by now for keeping him for roughly 20 centuries.

Consider that the whole day is centered on a failed promise subsequent to a grisly murder, complemented nowadays by nonsensically irrelevant indulgences and symbols — bad candy, rabbits, and egg hunts (that rabbits don’t even lay eggs is probably lost on a lot of American children). Easter as we know it is comparable to a hypothetical Abominable Snowman Day on which everyone jokes about all the frozen corpses littering the route to the top of Mount Everest while drinking Worcestershire sauce and taking their kids to watch stray dogs fornicate in the park.

Even if I believed in such things as people returning to life after spending three days as a corpse, I would have to look askance at the entire scheme.

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And I’m on the fence when it comes to religion

Every now and then, I come across a fifth-degree right-winger who incessantly let fly with contemptuous right-wing blather, yet for whatever reason likes to claim that he or she is in the political middle.

I’ve already given one example here recently; Ed Naile, a registered Democrat from New Hampshire, spends virtually all of his boundless free time complaining about phantom examples of vote fraud by Democrats and other leftist solecisms, such as literacy, educational attainment, resisting racism and sexism wherever possible, and not substituting firearms for the ability to achieve an erection.

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False facts determine alternate reality, or something

You have to love it when someone writes “Facts – not ideology – determine reality” on a blog populated by delusional bigots in the same post in which he rallies behind a load of bullshit about the evils of transgenderism excreted by a “medical” organization that is actually a group of conservative Christians using a convincing-sounding name (see: Center for Medical Progress) to promote ideology rather than facts.

For reference, the American College of Pediatricians was founded in 2002 and has perhaps 200 members; the American Academy of Pediatrics, on the other hand, was founded in 1930 and has a membership of approximately 64,000. Physicians in the latter group have ample reason to consider those in the former group a bunch of less-than-shrewd muckrakers and liars.

This is the worst aspect of these so-called Christian online gangs: They target the most credulous and toxic people out there. The guy who wrote this post is a mindless shitbird who would be happy to spread nastiness like this even if he knew it was ill-conceived, but in this case I’m sure that he’s merely been duped.

This, of course, is just one more example of an ineluctable aspect of faith in 21st-century America: Every day, countless people lie in order to promote Christianity, a religion that explicitly commands its followers not to lie. Does anyone else find this a little fucked up?

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