larvatus: (rock)
Methinks the homophiles are protesting too much by resolving to ignore the obvious charitable reading of Justice Scalia’s insistence on submitting law to moral scrutiny. Consider that their most compelling current jurisprudence calls for equal protection of homosexuals as distinguished by immutable characteristics of their sexual preferences. Suppose that tomorrow, psychiatrists declare the preferences of coprophagia, apotemnophilia, or kleptomania to be equally immutable. Would it be reasonable to demand that restaurants served excrements on par with conventional nutrients; that surgeons be compelled to amputate healthy limbs on their owners’ demand; or that bankers and shopkeepers surrendered their stock to anyone organically beholden to the advantages of theft over honest toil? Might it not make more sense to submit equal protection to moral judgments? Anyone who thinks this far-fetched is welcome to contemplate the immutability of schizophrenia as grounds for mandating equal treatment for its patients.
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Henry Watson Fowler
10 March 1858 – 26 December 1933

Pedantic Humour. No essential distinction is intended between this & Polysyllabic Humour; one or the other name is more appropriate to particular specimens, & the two headings are therefore useful for reference; but they are manifestations of the same impulse, & the few remarks needed may be made here for both. A warning is necessary, because we have all of us, except the abnormally stupid, been pedantic humourists in our time. We spend much of our childhood picking up a vocabulary; we like to air our latest finds; we discover that our elders are tickled when we come out with a new name that they thought beyond us; we devote some pains to tickle them further, & there we are, pedants & polysyllabists all. The impulse is healthy for children, & nearly universal—which is just why warning is necessary; for among so many there will always be some who fail to realize that the clever habit applauded at home will make them insufferable abroad. Most of those who are capable of writing well enough to find readers do learn sooner or later that playful use of long or learned words is a one-sided game boring the reader more than it pleases the writer, that the impulse to it is a danger-signal—for there must be something wrong with what they are saying if it needs recommending by such puerilities—, & that yielding to the impulse is a confession of failure. But now & then even an able writer will go on believing that the incongruity between simple things to be said & out-of-the-way words to say them in has a perennial charm. Perhaps it has for the reader who never outgrows hobbledehoyhood; but for the rest of us it is dreary indeed. It is possible that acquaintance with such labels as pedantic & polysyllabic humour may help to shorten the time it takes to cure a weakness incident to youth.
    An elementary example or two should be given. The words homoeopathic (small or minute), sartorial (of clothes), interregnum (gap), or familiar ones:—To introduce ‘Lords of Parliament’ in such a homoeopathic doses as to leave a preponderating power in the hands of those who enjoy a merely hereditary title./While we were motoring out to the station I took stock of his sartorial aspect, which had change somewhat since we parted./In his vehement action his breeches fall down & his waistcoat runs up, so that there is a great interregnum.
    These words are like most that are much used in humour of either kind, both pedantic & polysyllabic. A few specimens that cannot be described as polysyllabic are added here, & for the large class of long words, the article Polysyllabic Humour should be consulted:—ablution; aforesaid; beverage; bivalve (the succulent); caloric; cuticle; digit; domestics; eke (adv.); ergo; erstwhile; felicide; nasal organ; neighbourhood (in the n. of, = about); nether garments; optic (eye); parlous; vulpicide.

    Pedantry may be defined, for the purpose of this book, as the saying of things in language so learned or so demonstratively accurate as to imply a slur upon the generality, who are not capable or desirous of such displays. The term, then, is obviously a relative one; my pedantry is your scholarship, his reasonable accuracy, her irreducible minimum of education, & someone else’s ignorance. It is therefore not very profitable to dogmatize here on the subject; an essay would establish not what pedantry is, but only the place in the scale occupied by the author; & that, so far as it is worth inquiring into, can better be ascertained from the treatment of details […].

    Polysyllabic Humour. See Pedantic Humour for a slight account of the impulse that suggests long or abstruse words as a means of entertaining the hearer. Of the long as distinguished from the abstruse, terminological exactitude for lie or falsehood is a favourable example, but much less amusing ad the hundredth than at the first time of hearing. Oblivious to their pristine nudity (forgetting they were stark naked) is a less familiar specimen. Nothing need here be added to hat was said in the other article beyond a short specimen list of long words or phrases that sensible people avoid. Batavian, Caledonian, Celestial, Hibernian & Milesian for Dutch, Scotch, Chinese, Irish. Solution of continuity, femoral habiliments, refrain from lacteal addition, & olfactory organ for gap, breeches, take no milk, & nose. Osculatory, pachydermatous, matutinal, diminutive, fuliginous, fugacious, esurient, culinary, & minacious, for kissing, thick-skinned, morning, tiny, sooty, timid, hungry, kitchen, & threatening. Frontispiece, individual, equitation, intermediary, cachinnation, & epidermis, for face, person, riding, means, laughter, & skin. Negotiate & peregrinate for tackle & travel.

    Purism. Now & then a person may be heard to ‘confess’, in the pride that apes humility, to being ‘a bit of a purist’; but purist & purism are for the most part missile words, which we all of us fling at anyone who insults us by finding not good enough for him some manner of speech that is good enough for us. It is in that disparaging sense that the words are used in this book; by purism is to be understood a needless & irritating insistence on purity or correctness of speech. Pure English, however, even apart from the great number of elements (vocabulary, grammar, idiom, pronunciation, & so forth) that go to make it up, is so relative a term that almost every man is potentially a purist & a sloven at once to persons looking at him from a lower & a higher position in the scale than his own. The words have therefore not been very freely used; that they should be renounced altogether would be too much to expect considering the subject of the book. But readers who find a usage stigmatized as purism have a right to know the stigmatizer's place in the purist scale, if his stigma is not to be valueless. […]

—Henry Watson Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage: The Classic First Edition,
Oxford University Press, 2009 (1926), pp. 426-427, 444, 474-475
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Thus spake the Deep Throat of Queer Studies:
This point may not be popular. It may not win me friends. But I must make it. Harpo, like most men, has a symbolic vagina, somewhere on his person. Harpo, a starry man, has many vaginas. One is his wig. Another is his silence.
Then again, yonder nerdy man of words may just be hankering for Harpo’s touch on his butt crack.

Wayne Koestenbaum
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No good deed goes unpunished.

Thus each good man who dies happy proves the existence of Hell.


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Человек стремится всю жизнь не быть посредственностью (חוצפה, если не ὕβρις), или хотя бы не осознавать себя оною (tragische Konflikt, не ἁμαρτία, а ἀμαθία). Кончает посредственным скандалистом—не в силу лени, и не за неимением таланта, а из-за провинциальной ограниченности.

В Париже или Берлине пожалуй вышел бы Доминик Стросс-Кан или Даниэль Кон-Бендит; в Лос Ангелесе или Нью Йорке—Майкл Милкен или Эл Франкен. В Питере знаменательно произошёл Виктор Леонидович Топоров.
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“Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon — it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.”This principle generalizes to all theologies, or ways of relating man to his innermost values and motives, agglomerating rational thought and dogmatic mythology. All men argue like pigeons play chess when their core concerns are at stake.
larvatus: (MZ)
Mass Means Mail Michael Zeleny <michael@massmeans.com>

Re: Resumption of Public Protests at Rosewood Sand Hill Compound

Michael Zeleny <michael@massmeans.com> Wed, Feb 8, 2012 at 8:37 PM
To: sandhill@rosewoodhotels.com, policechief@menlopark.org, wadixon@menlopark.org, grojas@menlopark.org, sakaufman@menlopark.org, wlm@jsmf.com, danielprimack@gmail.com
Cc: Subrah Iyar <Subrah.Iyar@webex.com>, jchambers@cisco.com, john.chambers@cisco.com, "David W. Affeld" <dwa@agzlaw.com>, Ajay Vashee <avashee@nea.com>, Ali Behbahani <abehbahani@nea.com>, Amita Shukla <ashukla@nea.com>, Arno Penzias <apenzias@nea.com>, Brooke Seawell <bseawell@nea.com>, Chip Linehan <clinehan@nea.com>, Chuck Newhall <cnewhall@nea.com>, David Mott <dmott@nea.com>, Dick Kramlich <dkramlich@nea.com>, Ed Mathers <emathers@nea.com>, Forest Baskett <fbaskett@nea.com>, Frank Torti <ftorti@nea.com>, George Stamas <gstamas@nea.com>, Harry Weller <hweller@nea.com>, Hugh Panero <hpanero@nea.com>, Jake Nunn <jnunn@nea.com>, James Barrett <jbarrett@nea.com>, Jay Graf <jgraf@nea.com>, Jimmy Treybig <jtreybig@nea.com>, John Nehra <jnehra@nea.com>, Jon Sakoda <jsakoda@nea.com>, Josh Makower <jmakower@nea.com>, Justin Klein <jklein@nea.com>, Krishna 'Kittu' Kolluri <kkolluri@nea.com>, Louis Citron <lcitron@nea.com>, Mark Perry <mperry@nea.com>, Mike O'Dell <modell@nea.com>, Mike Ramsay <mramsay@nea.com>, Mohamad Makhzoumi <mmakhzoumi@nea.com>, Nitin Sharma <nsharma@nea.com>, Patrick Chung <pchung@nea.com>, Patrick Kerins <pkerins@nea.com>, Paul Hsiao <phsiao@nea.com>, Paul Walker <pwalker@nea.com>, Peter Barris <pbarris@nea.com>, Peter Behrendt <pbehrendt@nea.com>, Peter Morris <pmorris@nea.com>, Peter Sonsini <psonsini@nea.com>, PM Pai <ppai@nea.com>, Ralph Snyderman <rsnyderman@nea.com>, Ravi Viswanathan <rviswanathan@nea.com>, Richard Whitney <rwhitney@nea.com>, Rick Yang <ryang@nea.com>, Robert Croce <rcroce@nea.com>, Robert Garland <rgarland@nea.com>, Rohini Chakravarthy <rchakravarthy@nea.com>, Ryan Drant <rdrant@nea.com>, Sara Nayeem <snayeem@nea.com>, Scott Gottlieb <sgottlieb@nea.com>, Scott Sandell <ssandell@nea.com>, Sigrid Van Bladel <svanbladel@nea.com>, Sujay Jaswa <sjaswa@nea.com>, Suzanne King <sking@nea.com>, Tim Schaller <tschaller@nea.com>, Tom Grossi <tgrossi@nea.com>, Tony Florence <tflorence@nea.com>, "Michael D. Pinnisi" <mpinnisi@pinnisianderson.com>, "Hawk, Robert B." <robert.hawk@hoganlovells.com>
Dear NEA and associates,

Please be advised that our hitherto postponed protest will begin tomorrow and continue indefinitely, according to the terms previously announced in the email copied below.

I am attaching an image of a bumper sticker that we have created for your benefit, licensed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-ND 3.0). Please feel free to use it in advertising your investment practices.

--
Michael@massmeans.com ---- http://larvatus.livejournal.com/ ---- http://www.subrah.com
Zeleny@post.harvard.edu | 7576 Willow Glen Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90046 | 213.290.4699
Wronged by the high and mighty? Cut them down to size with legally safe and
ethically sound degradation of unworthy moguls and scrofulous celebrities.

On Fri, Sep 23, 2011 at 4:53 PM, Michael Zeleny <zeleny@post.harvard.edu> wrote:
Dear NEA,

I share your relief at settling our dispute regarding my access to your private property. As you know, I will no longer appear in front of your office. I am equally relieved that your single claim challenged only my "conduct in repeatedly trespassing on private property, leaving [me] free to express [myself] as [I desire], at any lawful place and time, with the sole exception that [I] cannot make unauthorized entry onto the NEA office complex." You objected to the location of my protest but did not dispute its content.

Starting on 31 October 2011 and continuing indefinitely, I shall resume my protest against your abhorrent investment practices. I shall do so on the public easement near the entrance to your complex. I shall also protest against anyone who would do business with you, based on their implicit endorsement of your immoral practices. I shall take photos and record videos of everyone entering your complex, post the images online and distribute them on bills posted throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, and offer rewards for the first correct identification of names and addresses of everyone who does business with your child rape sponsoring enterprise. I shall display signs and banners illustrating the purpose of my protests. As before, I shall be armed with legal counterparts of U.S. military rifles and pistols, in full compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local ordinances. As before, I invite you to comment on my plans, should you have any legitimate objection to the time, place, or manner of my expression of my Constitutionally protected message.

--
Michael@massmeans.com | Zeleny@post.harvard.edu | 7576 Willow Glen Road, Los Angeles, CA 90046 | 323.363.1860 | http://www.subrah.com
http://larvatus.livejournal.com | "All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." -- Samuel Beckett




larvatus: (Default)
As a naturalized American citizen since 1986, I never voted for a winner in the Presidential elections. From this perspective, I share Walt Harrington’s bafflement at the urge of grown people to convince themselves that those with whom they disagree are stupid or malevolent. Credit smart and benevolent Barack H. Obama for George W. Bush looking better with every passing day.
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Logical positivist Alfred Jules Ayer was renowned both as a fierce debater and an audacious womanizer. As his stepdaughter Gully Wells told his biographer Ben Rogers, in 1987, shortly after his seventy-seventh birthday party, Ayer cleverly conjoined these competitive qualities in an unexpectedly philanthropic encounter with a besotted raper wannabe:
It was at another party, given a little later in the year by the highly fashionable clothes designer, Fernando Sanchez, that he had a widely reported encounter. Ayer had always had an ability to pick up unlikely people and at yet another party had befriended Sanchez. Ayer was now standing near the entrance to the great white living-room of Sanchez’s West 57th Street apartment, chatting to a group of young models and designers, when a woman rushed in saying that a friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. Ayer went to investigate and found Mike Tyson forcing himself on a young south London model called Naomi Campbell, then just beginning her career. Ayer warned Tyson to desist. Tyson: ‘Do you know who the fuck I am? I’m the heavyweight champion of the world.’ Ayer stood his ground: ‘And I am the former Wykeham Professor of Logic. We are both pre-eminent men in our held; I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.’ Ayer and Tyson began to talk. Naomi Campbell slipped out.
In the following year, a no less competitive confrontation with a more formidable adversity left Ayer bested in a far less festive setting. In the articles reproduced and glossed below, he recounts and analyzes a near-death experience, which pitted him against a bright and painful red light that governed the universe, and the guardians of space and time. Some time later Jonathan Miller commented to Dee Wells, Ayer’s final and antepenultimate wife: “Freddie is in spectacularly good form!” To which she replied: “He’s so much nicer since he died.” A character-building opportunity of this sort would improve almost all of us.
What I Saw When I Was Dead
A.J. Ayer

A.J. Ayer post mortem, London, 5 October 1988, photo by Steve Pyke
My first attack of pneumonia occurred in the United States. I was in hospital for ten days in New York, after which the doctors said that I was well enough to leave. A final X-ray, however, which I underwent on the last morning, revealed that one of my lungs was not yet free from infection. This caused the most sympathetic of my doctors to suggest that it would be good for me to spend a few more days in hospital. I respected his opinion but since I was already dressed and psychologically disposed to put my illness behind me, I decided to take the risk. I spent the next few days in my stepdaughter’s apartment, and then made arrangements to fly back to England. When I arrived I believed myself to be cured and incontinently plunged into an even more hectic social round than that to which I had become habituated before I went to America.
    Retribution struck me on Sunday, May 30. Read more... )
Postscript to a Postmortem
A.J. Ayer
My purpose in writing a postscript to the article about my ‘death’, which I contributed to the 28 August issue of the Sunday Telegraph, is not primarily to retract anything that I wrote or to express my regret that my Shakespearian title for the article, ‘That undiscovered country’, was not retained, but to correct a misunderstanding to which the article appears to have given rise.
    I say “not primarily to retract” because one of my sentences was written so carelessly that it is literally false as it stands. In the final paragraph, I wrote, “My recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death … will be the end of me.” They have not and never did weaken that conviction. What I should have said and would have said, had I not been anxious to appear undogmatic, is that my experiences have weakened, not my belief that there is no life after death, but my inflexible attitude towards that belief. Read more... )
Did Atheist Philosopher See God When He ‘Died’?
William Cash
“I haven’t told this to anybody before,” said Dr. Jeremy George, senior consultant in the Department of Thoracic Medicine at London University’s Middlesex Hospital. On the table in front of him were the official hospital notes of “Sir Alfred Ayer, date of birth 29/10/10, of 51 York Street, London, W1.”
    We were discussing the incident of June, 1988, when the eminent 77-year-old British philosopher, arguably the most influential 20th century rationalist after Bertrand Russell, famously “died” in London University Hospital. His heart stopped for four minutes when he apparently choked on a slice of smoked salmon smuggled in by a former mistress. Read more... )
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About the James book: It is not great no matter what they tell you. It has fine qualities and greater faults. It is much too long and much too bitching and his one fight, against the planes, at Pearl Harbour day is almost musical comedy. He has a genius for respecting the terms of a kitchen and he is a K.P. boy for keeps and for always. Things will catch up with him and he will probably commit suicide. Who could announce in his publicity in this year 1951 that “he went over the hill” in 1944. That was a year in which many people were very busy doing their duty and in which many people died. To me he is an enormously skilled fuck-up and his book will do great damage to our country. Probably I should re-read it again to give you a truer answer. But I do not have to eat an entire bowl of scabs to know they are scabs; nor suck a boil to know it is a boil; nor swim through a river of snot to know it is snot. I hope he kills himself as soon as it does not damage his or your sales. If you give him a literary tea you might ask him to drain a bucket of snot and then suck the pus out of a dead nigger’s ear. Then present him with one of those women he is asking for and let him show her his portrait and his clippings. How did they ever get a picture of a wide-eared jerk (un-damaged ears) to look that screaming tough. I am glad he makes you money and I would never laugh him off. I would just give him a bigger bucket on the snot detail. He has the psycho’s urge to kill himself and he will do it. 
    Make all the money you can out of him as quickly as you can and hold out enough for Christian Burial. 
    Wouldn’t have brought him up if you hadn’t asked me. Now I feel as unclean as when I read his fuck-off book. It has all the charm and true-ness of the real and imitation fuck-off. I give you James Jones, Gentlemen, and please take him away before he falls apart or starts screaming.
— Ernest Hemingway, letter to Charles Scribner, 5 March 1951, Selected Letters 1917-1961, edited by Carlos Baker, Scribner, 2003, p. 721


Ernest Hemingway, late spring 1952, John F. Kennedy Library

Jones made another remark that I had difficulty dealing with. When Hemingway’s name came up, he proclaimed that, “The problem with Papa was he always wanted to suck a cock. But when he found one that fit, it had a double barrel.”
— Michael Mewshaw, Do I Owe You Something?: A Memoir of the Literary Life, Louisiana State Univ Press, 2003, p. 53
larvatus: (Default)
—for Michael Wong

A college student was walking past a butcher’s shop. His appetite whetted by the display of thick and juicy, well marbled prime steaks in its window, the hungry scholar entered the shop and inquired about their price. “Ten dollars a pound”, said the elderly butcher. The youth assessed his finances, which barely sufficed to purchase hamburger at one tenth the price, and beat a hasty retreat.

Over the next thirty years, his appetite for fresh meat never abated. He studied and worked hard and traveled far and wide to rise in the world, all so that he could afford to consume the finest viands. And so, upon belatedly returning to his college town on a business trip, he drifted towards the old butcher shop next to the campus. To his surprise, the quaint boutique was no more, supplanted by a high-rise that housed a fashionable supermarket. He approached the meat counter and asked for a thick slab of prime steak. “Sorry”, said the pierced and tattooed metrosexual meat expert, “we only carry organic, grass-fed Angus beef.”

The businessman surveyed dainty pink slices artfully arrayed in the brightly lit cooler. They were nothing like the corn-fed prime cuts glowing in his mind’s eye. He looked around and saw himself surrounded by trim and chatty whippersnappers lining up for healthful foodstuffs under the guidance of their appropriately gendered and similarly aged companions. He recalled his trophy girlfriend barely half his age, delicately nibbling on exotic delicacies that suited her size zero figure. He pondered the time he spent at the gym to stay ahead of her contemporaries nibbling at his heels. And he realized that under the laws of supply and demand, the likes of the prime meat of his youth had long since been shat out into the sewer.

larvatus: (Default)
Message-ID: <6010@husc6.harvard.edu>
Date: 15 Mar 91 22:59:27 GMT
I believe in the objective existence of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful.[1] […] I believe that in the realm of politics, there is no place for moral judgements. Morality neither can (in practice), nor should (morally) be legislated. The best that a government can hope for is to guide its laws in accordance with some standard of common Good.
    A corollary of the above: homosexuals, drug users, gun owners, in short everyone who deviates from that, which by any statistical standard may be accepted as the Norm, have absolutely the same rights as everyone else, provided that they, as individuals, do not injure or coerce anybody else. “Setting a bad example” does not count as coersion.
    This is the old “consenting adults cannot do anything legally wrong to each other” thesis. Note that children are automatically excluded, until they reach legal majority.[2]
    Concerning the main issue: death is the price we, as a species, pay for the privilege of having sex. While, as Sade among many others very clearly understood, the degree of erotic excitement increases with any increase in the distance between recreation and procreation, some measure of restraint must be imposed on this distance out of moral considerations. Where to draw the line is subject to many questions. Personally, I believe that many organized religions go to far in their proscription of “spilling the seed on the ground”, birth control, and so on. On the other hand, it is equally clear to me that, until and unless homosexual reproduction has been invented, homosexual intercourse will remain morally wrong. tl:dr )
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While Facebook allows its users to avow inspiration by Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-tong, Nicolae Ceauşescu, Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milošević, Pol Pot, Vlad III the Impaler, and Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, those attempting to testify likewise on behalf of Adolf Hitler are redirected to the page entitled Justin Bieber’s voice is higher than Adolf Hitlers gas bill.
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You are failing to come to terms with the axiom that the only fundamentally fundamental entity is the fundament. While I’ve been known to put my arse on the line for a lark, I categorically deny its propensity for being seen in public, let alone making a scene, howsoever spectacular it might be in and of itself.
larvatus: (Default)


    I have seen pistol shooters so drunk they could not hit the ground with their hats—but brother, how they could hit the bullseye! Read more... )
Read more... )
—Colonel Charles Askins, “Are Pistol Champs Alcoholics?”, Guns, January 1956, pp. 24-26, 63-64
Crossposted to [info]larvatus and [info]guns.
larvatus: (Default)
Thank you, U.S.A. You are the only land to support the vocation of an assclown.
larvatus: (Default)
I am pleased to announce that eighteen years, seven months, and twenty-four days after the issuance of my dueling challenge to him, Mike Godwin courageously amended his original choice of arms, from Trivial Pursuit to “[my] favorite weapon”. As a result of his gracious choice, we shall battle with shinai on a near future date. Watch this space for further updates.

Updated on 11 May 2011: Regrettably, Godwin not only reneged on his assent to a duel, but attempted in vain to have me falsely arrested and maliciously prosecuted, and contrived in his subsequently terminated capacity of disgraced blowhard general counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation to have me blocked and purged from Wikipedia by lying that I made threats of violence and attempts at coercion directed at himself. There is no honor among lawyers.

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