Daily Archives: February 11, 2010

The return of Drago

Despite her repeated protestations I use the opinions of Mrs. TwShioh as a gauge of the opinions of all Swedes (what’s wrong with making broad, sweeping generalizations with a sample size of 1?).  One strange thing I’ve noticed (even among my in laws raising the n value to 4 or 5!) is a general dislike of Dolph Lundgren.  It seems he’s viewed as a bit of a sell out, altering his accent (a la Madonna)  to pick up a bit of an American twang in his Swedish.

When I tried to get more detailed information about the source of dislike for Dolph I could only get “He’s….lame”.  I’m not sure that’s entirely fair given his amazing contributions to our civilization in the realm of film.  I suspect this has something to do with his perceived violation of the jantalagen.

Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us.

Well…he’s back.  Performing a badly sung, karate demo/dance number.  He looks like he’s lip synching but one would hope not since if it was they’d surely be able to engineer a better sound than this.

The goon squad chronicles…

Ok, there is only one side to this story but still…

Nicholas George was…attempting to fly from Philadelphia to Southern California to start up his senior year at Pomona College.

While he was going through the security line at Philadelphia International Airport, TSA agents put him through extra screening, according to his lawsuit, filed by the ACLU.

They asked him to empty his pockets, and he had some English-Arabic flashcards in them, as he’d been learning Arabic for three years and was a Middle-Eastern Studies major. After discovering the flashcards, the TSA agents kept him in the screening area for a half hour.

TSA supervisor: “You know who did 9/11?”

George: “Osama bin Laden.”

TSA supervisor: “Do you know what language he spoke?”

George: “Arabic.”

TSA supervisor: “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?”

Nice.  It’s that razor sharp logic that we can count on to keep us safe.

The complex environment of animal protection

Check out NY Mag’s article titled ‘The Rise of Dog Identity Politics‘.  If you’re a dog person you really shouldn’t need much convincing but it’s also interesting in giving a nuanced view of the spectrum of the animal protection movement:

As often happens, the success in moving toward some of the movement’s most basic goals has only increased the doctrinal conflict among various groups…The rescue people don’t agree with the animal-welfare people, and both can’t stand the animal-rights people…It’s a struggle for the Future of Dog, a little like Russia in 1917, with weakened conservatives and radicals of many stripes, all trying desperately to invent a future.
Famously, the touchstone of the animal-rights movement is Peter Singer’s 1975 book Animal Liberation.  Ingrid Newkirk, PETA’s leader, seems to dream of a world in which pets have been abolished, and she is a particularly reviled figure among many dog people. Although PETA’s mission statement includes language suggesting that each animal life is intrinsically valuable, the organization’s actions describe a more nuanced picture. PETA kills a surprising number of the animals it takes in. In the decade beginning with 1998, PETA euthanized 17,000 animals, 85 percent of those it rescued.
Dog-rescue people oppose PETA and its ilk bitterly. They see numbers like this and think mass murder.  Regarding human nature, Newkirk is a pessimist. In her view, we’ve botched this whole dominion thing, creating an Island of Dr. Moreau of animal horrors. So the best thing to do is to end our agency over animals, to disengage, build a wall around nature and stay on our side. The dog, in particular, is polluted by human influence. The animal-rights movement can seem as much about keeping humans free of guilt as keeping animals free of suffering, which is another kind of solipsism.

Agencies concerned with animal rights issues would do well to learn these distinctions.  Even though those who violate the law in the name of animal rights usually jump back and forth between legal and illegal activity there is a disturbing tendency to view the entire movement with a suspicious eye.  I’d say things have gotten better over the past couple of years (although I could be wrong about that) but to be honest this issue has really been off my radar for awhile.

I’ve never liked Newkirk but never thought of my dislike being a function of me being a ‘dog person’.  I always thought my contempt for her was due to the fact that she demanded that reality conform to her psychotic interpretation of it.  She has a glorified, romanticized vision of nature  and suffers from the same mindset that brought us racist paternalism only instead of saving the savages from themselves and bringing them all the benefits of civilization she wants to override evolution itself to conform to her political views.

Still, given PETAs opposition to animals as pets perhaps my opinion of the organization runs a bit deeper than ideological differences.

For the record, I’m also not a fan of the AKC which really promotes the disfigurement of dogs through breeding and surgery.

Music Monday – Thursday edition

The Swedish Folk band Garmarna appears to be no longer producing music but through the wonders of modern technology you can still enjoy their stuff.

So, today I’m going to recommend their album Hildigard von Bingen which takes the works of that 12th century rocker and puts her to modern music.  Really good stuff.

Here’s a video for the first track off the album.