David Thompson


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December 28, 2018



The flame-thrower is still unused?

I can see it from here. Taunting me.


Oh bugger. Now we’re on page two.

Governor Squid

Oh bugger. Now we’re on page two.

The Thread Reheated

In which we marvel at the mental gymnastics of our merry band of commenters.

The thread began on a highbrow note as jabrwok remarked on the value of having a summary of the year's absurdities shown all in one place.

This was followed by a number of the Usual Suspects presenting offerings to Our Gracious Host, and receiving oddly specific blessings in return...


So I just did the bbc secret nationality quiz, but answered the questions like a total psycho, e.g. hit either 'strongly agree'/'strongly disagree' to reflect the most poorly on myself (e.g. hit 'strongly agree' to the suggestion I was lazy, or would frequently start arguments, and hit 'strongly disagree' to the notion that I handle stress well. I responded 'neutral' to a couple where no obvious value was to be had either way. The results then told me I was 'Japanese' - ouch! Was this quiz written by comic book writers in the 40s??
of course it is most likely that as I claimed the worst characteristics on diametrically opposed traits, my scores landed in the middle of the score continuums, which despite being quite awful, averages out my scores to represent a pretty neutral personality. And for whatever reason 'Japanese' was the best match for this.
But yeesh...This is an obvious point, but doesn't this go against the oft-repeated mantra that 'all cultures/people are the same/equal?' Plus, is there seriously research that supports the notion that some nationalities are more likely than others to 'do a thorough job' or 'start quarrels with others?'

Chester Draws

Plus, is there seriously research that supports the notion that some nationalities are more likely than others to 'do a thorough job' or 'start quarrels with others?'

Well, there is data that very strongly suggests that some cultures are more likely to end quarrels with knives, for example. The number of quarrels a culture starts isn't that important compared to the manner they end them.

And if you've ever lived in the Pacific Islands, you'd certainly know some cultures are less likely to do a thorough job.

Also the SJWs have to believe that cultures are different, since they take as a matter of faith that they don't differ at all biologically.

You can get into quite interesting discussions about the validity of all cultures if you take as your exemplar Aztec culture (mass human sacrifice is well known, but there's much in their ways worse than that). Seeing someone defend routine torture and ritual cannibalism is quite the thing.


The flame-thrower is still unused?


This is a flamethrower.


Related to "meanwhile in Wakanda" and to the question "aren't all cultures the same?" -

Ernest Gellner writes (Conditions of Liberty, 1994):

When modern political parties were set up in newly independent Morocco in 1956, mountain tribes joined them in the old style, as they were habituated to doing with religious movements -- they did so as collectivities, with an oath and a sacrifice. A clan not an individual would join a socialist party, and a bullock would perish in the process.
 And, more distantly related, Edmund Carpenter jotted this note in 1963:
Prince Modupe left Africa for the United States where he studied anthropology, then worked for MGM as an actor & consultant. To avoid offending African governments, MGM insisted that no film on Africa resemble Africa. Modupe's task was purely creative: design buildings, songs, shields, dances, masks, even "languages," all of which Americans would accept as authentically African but which no African would recognize as his. Modupe was so successful in this that he convinced even Africans & they modified their art accordingly


Edmund Carpenter's note continues:

Modupe often phones me late at night when one of his old films is showing on TV. We watch on our separate screens while he provides a running background. Tribes, he tells me, were generally named after directors by adding vowels to their last names. Hair styles, while not authentically African, were real hair. Extras protested that long hair prevented them from dating girls. Their demands for additional pay were ignored until they began wearing, in the cafeteria, large rubber lips made by the prop department.

Carpenter's book is called Oh What a Blow That Phantom Gave Me (Holt, 1974). Highly recommended.

Mr Eugenides

Happy New Year, sir.


Happy New Year, sir.

Eugenides! A sighting! We are honoured.

And to you, sir.

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