They are my oldest and deadliest enemy. You cannot trust them.
If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give a favourable reference to the Devil.

Monday, June 19

World

Much Ado About Shakespeare

Amid the more visceral chaos of the world this year, there has been something of a contretemps involving the Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, to wit, that they had placed a Trump-like figure in the part of Caesar.

Those who know anything about the play - or about history - will know one key fact about Julius Caesar, which is to say, he gets stabby-stabby murdered by a gaggle of Roman senators.


Back in the last millennium, I had a minor role in a failed high-school production of Julius Caesar, not so much because I was interested in amateur theatrics, as because it got me out of sports practice for several weeks. The production was being done by the 8th grade, but they were short-handed, so a couple of us 9th graders pitched in seeing as we had studied the play the previous year.

So every week for a couple of months I spent one afternoon in rehearsals. Since my part was a small one and I'd learned it the first day, I took the time to memorise the rest of the play.


And this is the second thing people should know about Julius Caesar, both the play and the man: It's a tragedy.

Was he a tyrant? Perhaps, but less so than many who came later. Was he a great leader? Indubitably. Was it a good idea to kill him?

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer’d it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest–
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men–
Come I to speak in Caesar’s funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.


The play is unequivocal on this. Though its discussion of the honour of the various characters is subtle and complex, its position on that question is clear enough.  When Marc Antony says, So are they all, all honourable men, what he is saying - and the audience will know this - is that in his opinion not a one of them is deserving of the dignity of a final cigarette.


So to me the interesting question was, how does this production handle this question? Does it present Trump as a noble but flawed figure? Does it present Brutus the same, the assassination a tragic error that he must, for honour, pay for with his life?  The parallel with Trump here would be painfully clear - that the fruitless Russia investigations and the inane and incessant calls for impeachment are folly that can only lead in disaster for all involved.

Or does it play it broadly and bastardise one of the greatest works of English literature in service of convenient political point-scoring?

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Tuesday, May 23

World

Manchester

Sorry, I lack the words.

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Tuesday, May 09

World

Bob Owens

Long-time mu.nu blogger and Second Amendment activist Bob Owens, founder of Bearing Arms, has passed away.

I didn't know him as well as I would have liked, but from everything I saw he was a great guy and his death is a terrible loss.

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Friday, April 07

World

Name That Planet

And for our late-night viewers, a quick game of Name That Planet!

/images/NameThatPlanet1.jpg?size=720x&q=95
A familiar planet seen from an unfamiliar angle.

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World

Name That City

Hello, and welcome to Name That City, the game where you have to name that city.

Our first picture tonight is this beauty:

http://ai.mee.nu/images/NameThatCity1.jpg?size=720x&q=95

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Thursday, January 12

World

BuzzFeed Ben Kills, Eats Puppies On Live Television

Or not.  Hey, here's ten amazing facts about toothpaste!

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Tuesday, January 10

World

Glowball Worming

So I've been having a...  Discussion...  With some conservative types about global warming over at Townhall.

First thing to note: Disqus comments are horrible.

Second thing to note: Some conservatives are sensible, dubious about the extent of the problem that global warming presents, but ready to accept evidence and discuss solutions.

Third thing to note: Some conservatives are nuts.

Fourth thing: I really mean it about Disqus comments.


I don't know that, strictly speaking, I'm a conservative myself.  Maybe an anarcho-monarchist, or a techno-feudalist, or moe-constructionist.

One of the trends I find worrying in US politics is the widespread denial among conservatives of global warming, which is nearly universally accepted among scientists.

Certainly most of what is written about it in the mainstream news media is garbage, because the mainstream news media is terrible at science reporting, and indeed, terrible at reporting generally.

Certainly too there have been cases of climate scientists behaving poorly, like Michael Mann's lawsuit against Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg, or the University of East Anglia's fight against FOIA requests.*  Sorry, but when you take public money for your work, your work belongs to the public.

But if you simultaneously believe that global warming is a large and pressing problem, and have a realistic estimation of the ability of left-wing governments to address it - that is, that there is no problem so severe that with enough money, time, and effort, they can't make it a hundred times worse - the denial by large portions of the right that the problem even exists is more than a little depressing.

Better, though, than Disqus comments.


* My belief is that the document dump released in the Climategate hack was assembled to respond to the FOIA request before the University decided to stonewall.  Which explains why that particular collection of documents was sitting on a server waiting to be scooped up.

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Friday, January 06

World

We're Not All Going To Die


No doom for you!

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Thursday, January 05

World

Assumes Facts Not In Evidence

What part of "I'm going to commit a serious felony, record it on video, and post it under my own name to a social network used by over a billion people" makes any sense?

What were they thinking?

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Saturday, November 12

World

Winners And Losers

What we've learned from 2016, as far as politics goes
  • Advertising doesn't work
  • Polls don't work
  • Newspaper endorsements don't work
  • Celebrity endorsements don't work
  • Telling your opponent's voters they are bigoted fools really, really doesn't work
  • Complaining about your opponents living in an impenetrable bubble when you write for the New York Fucking Times just makes you look silly
  • No-one really knows what's going on, especially Paul Krugman, except that
  • Liberals are consistently poor losers
Winners
  • Populism, generally
  • The alt-right, unfortunately
  • Twitter, surprisingly
  • Reddit
  • Rule of law
Losers
  • The mainstream media and their perennial sense of entitlement
  • Academia generally, and the screaming campus garbage babies in particular (which is why they're rioting in such hotbeds of conservatism as Oakland, Berkeley, and Portland)
  • The globalist agenda
  • Facebook
  • Political dynasties
  • Snark as a substitute for adult discourse
  • Polling organisations.  Guys, you got everything wrong this year.  Everything.
  • The breathless pearl-clutching incredibly sincere liberals infesting my technology and pop-culture podcast feeds
  • SJWs and their entire blighted worthless movement
  • Huge secretive trade agreements like TPP and TTIP
I'm buoyed up at the moment on a tsunami of schadenfreude, because I loathe those losers (as may be apparent).  But I'm far from complacent about Donald Trump being leader of the free world, which he IS, or rather, will be in two short months.

But politics is suddenly interesting again, social trends that needed a resounding slap upside the head have been so slapped, and the most corrupt presidential candidate in living memory got soundly thumped.

If we're all dead in four years time I'll regret it then, but not today.  Not today.

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