Friday Night Paradox

Coincidence? In the middle of reading Douglas Hofstadter‘s new book, I notice this brain fart from Ed Morrisey (via) and the following occurs to me:

* The only idea so pernicious that its expression threatens America, is the belief that such an idea exists.

Discuss.






28 replies
  1. 1
    scarshapedstar says:

    Can we put that in the Constitution?

  2. 2
    Tom Hilton says:

    Captain Ed’s brain must have been eating beans, because it seems particularly flatulent today. When I saw ‘this brain fart from Ed’, I expected it to be the post where he said Waxman getting RNC e-mail would be ‘the Congressional equivalent of the Watergate break-in‘.

    But yeah…like most people of his general political bent, he really just doesn’t get the point of the ACLU…or the point of the Bill of Rights, for that matter.

    Never did read GEB, although it was very popular when I was in college. Maybe because it was very popular when I was in college. I’ve read some Richard Hofstadter–does that count?

  3. 3

    IMUS! IMUS! IMUS! IMUS!

    Ok, ok. I know it’s getting really old. But I did have a thought…

    When Miss USA got into trouble for her party girl antics, there were no end of people like Rosie O Donnell who basically called her a whore. The liberal blogs were full of jokes along those lines. Atrios wrote the line “Punish the dirty whore!” on his front page.

    What gives? She was just as young as the Rutgers women. She didn’t do anything wrong, or do we think that a girl who drinks, makes out with girls and has sex with lots of guys is a bad person?

    Well, yeah. We do. And that’s my point. An attractive girl wins a beauty pagent and has a good time in NYC and she’s fair game. Some scary looking chicks from Jersey makes to the NCAA Finals and no one is allowed to say shit about them. Is it because Miss USA was a blonde white girl? Because she’s attractive? That’s probably exactly why.

    And for the 1000th time Imus is a jerk and people shouldn’t call other people nappy hos. It’s mean. I’m just saying it’s disturbing how much hate is acceptable when going after the “beautiful” people.

    Time for a national dialogue.

  4. 4
    Chad N. Freude says:

    This is totally, brilliantly hilarious!

  5. 5
    Sojourner says:

    Hey Tim:

    How’s the book? I bought it but have only read bits and pieces.

  6. 6
    CaseyL says:

    The commenters over there are funny. In one breath some of them accuse the ACLU of not taking on enough RW causes, and in the next they criticize the ACLU for representing Nazis, the ultimate RW group. (I guess some of Capt Ed’s commenters are among the wingnuts who’ve decided the Nazis are actually a left-wing group.)

    Oh, and then one of them wonders if the “poor Nazis” want to be helped by a groups of “pedophilia enablers.”

    I keep hearing that Capt Ed is one of the saner RW bloggers. I keep going over there to see, and I always leave shaking my head.

  7. 7
    Dug Jay says:

    Tim, you are not fit to carry the Captain’s jock strap.

  8. 8
    stickler says:

    Jumping Judas Iscariot:

    Tim, you are not fit to carry the Captain’s jock strap.

    What the hell kind of mental image is THAT? Not even the “Captain” wants to carry the “Captain”‘s jockstrap.

    Augh. Please, never use that metaphor again.

  9. 9
    chopper says:

    jock strap? i didn’t know blogging from your parents’ basement was a physical sport.

  10. 10
    AkaDad says:

    Apparently Dug Jay isn’t fit to carry the Captain’s water…

  11. 11
    solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short says:

    Hey, thanks for the cognitive dissonance. I know your point isn’t about that particular sentiment removed from the context of Captain Ed, but still, agreeing with him on the basis of one sentence is enough to negate the effects of the beer I just had.

    Capt. Avatar, I’m with you on the national dialogue as long as nobody gets to “win” it, as long as we’re not putting Where The Line Is up to a popular vote. I mean, you and I agree that there’s more to this than “we made the bad man go away,” but that’s probably all we agree on. I’m not saying you’re wrong, necessarily, just that I’m coming at the Imus thing from a totally different perspective. The free-speech absolutist knee-jerk libertarian simpleton’s perspective, to be precise.

  12. 12
    Tim F. says:

    The free-speech absolutist knee-jerk libertarian simpleton’s perspective, to be precise.

    It sounds as though my post agrees with you more than it does with Cap’n Ed.

  13. 13
    Cyrus says:

    The only idea so pernicious that its expression threatens America, is the belief that such an idea exists.

    Well, it’s obviously hard to prove a negative. But if you somehow manage to do so, don’t blame me for the angry patriotic mob on your doorstep, you America-threatener, you.

  14. 14
    Jon H says:

    Nobody really needs to carry the captain’s jock strap, it’s so tiny it just kind of wafts on the breeze like one of those tiny parachuting spiders.

  15. 15
    Jon H says:

    Nobody really needs to carry the captain’s jock strap, it’s so tiny it just kind of wafts on the breeze like one of those tiny parachuting spiders.

  16. 16
    Northman says:

    Tim, you are not fit to carry the Captain’s jock strap.

    I’m just glad there’s somebody here who remembers Larry Holmes.

  17. 17
    jake says:

    Nobody really needs to carry the captain’s jock strap, it’s so tiny it just kind of wafts on the breeze like one of those tiny parachuting spiders.

    Thanks dude. My monitor needs a fine coating of tea to function properly.

    Is it because Miss USA was a blonde white girl? Because she’s attractive? That’s probably exactly why.

    How about: People are flaming fucking hypocrites. I won’t use the “V” word but Miss USA was subjected to a bunch of sexist crap and hypocrisy (even from Rosie O). The Rutger’s team got a shot of racism and when they complained more bullshit because…they complained. I seem to recall the other Joisy girl was very contrite. It would have been interesting to see what happened if she said fuck off and stuff that crown up your ass.

  18. 18
    RSA says:

    The only idea so pernicious that its expression threatens America, is the belief that such an idea exists.

    Nice one, Tim. I don’t think it’s paradoxical, though; it just requires a couple of extensions to basic first order logic: equality (pretty standard) and a “believes” operator (more problematic).

  19. 19
    Tom Hilton says:

    This is totally, brilliantly hilarious!

    Wow…thanks, Chad! Glad you enjoyed it!

    When Miss USA got into trouble for her party girl antics, there were no end of people like Rosie O Donnell who basically called her a whore. The liberal blogs were full of jokes along those lines. Atrios wrote the line “Punish the dirty whore!” on his front page.

    What gives? She was just as young as the Rutgers women. She didn’t do anything wrong, or do we think that a girl who drinks, makes out with girls and has sex with lots of guys is a bad person?

    Well, yeah. We do. And that’s my point. An attractive girl wins a beauty pagent and has a good time in NYC and she’s fair game. Some scary looking chicks from Jersey makes to the NCAA Finals and no one is allowed to say shit about them.

    There are about a dozen different things going on here. I’ll try to deal with the top few…

    1. Sexism is still more socially acceptable than racism. Unfortunately.

    2. Which, by the way, is why a lot of people who understood Imus’ comments as racist failed to see the misogyny in them.

    3. Yes, we do “think that a girl who drinks, makes out with girls and has sex with lots of guys is a bad person” (‘we’ being Gringolandian society in general, not some specific group of people including myself). Yes, this attitude is a Bad Thing.

    4. I’m pretty sure Atrios meant that ironically. In fact, I’d be very surprised to find any liberal blogers (except maybe Kos) actually endorsing the above sentiment.

    5. Which is not to say liberal bloggers are immune to sexism. Everybody has a ways to go.

    6. Of course, the very existence of ‘Miss America’ is a tribute to sexism. Which is the first fundamental distinction between your two examples: ‘Miss America’ is defined as a symbol of virginity, ‘moral fiber’, and all kinds of sick retrograde shit. Miss America got into trouble because of the disconnect between the image and the (more-or-less normal) reality.

    7. “Some scary looking chicks”? Excuse me? Or more precisely: what the fuckity-fucking fuck? African-American = ‘scary’?

    6. Which gets to the second fundamental difference between your two examples: there is a difference between criticism of conduct (regardless of whether such criticism is justified) and slurs directed at innate characteristics (in this case, race and gender). Huge difference.

  20. 20
    John S. says:

    Some scary looking chicks from Jersey makes to the NCAA Finals and no one is allowed to say shit about them.

    Perhaps you could elaborate on what makes them look ‘scary’?

  21. 21
    Andrew says:

    Some scary looking chicks from Jersey makes to the NCAA Finals and no one is allowed to say shit about them.

    They remind him of all of the women who beat the crap out of his sorry ass when he was such a dick to them.

  22. 22
    demimondian says:

    Actually, RSA, Tim, (logic pedant alert) the question of counterfactual belief is one of the single toughest problems of semantics. How can the statement A: “Jerry believes that the morning star is not the evening star” possibly have a valid semantics? Under first-order semantics, A means that same thing as “Jerry believes ‘1 = 0′”, since both statements are false. From this, though, one can conclude that it is impossible for Jerry to believe that the morning star is not the evening star, yet to also believe the Venus is not a star.

    Counterfactual beliefs mean something — “Wolfie believed there was nothing wrong with getting his special friend a special deal” is a meaningful statement — but none of us has the conclusive idea what that something is.

  23. 23
    jake says:

    6. Of course, the very existence of ‘Miss America’ is a tribute to sexism.

    Nice break down of the broken logic. Now, am I the only one who had to buy a new Irony-meter because Donald Trump was the one who reined in the errant Miss America? I may be wrong but isn’t he on wife number three? And then there was this gem:

    When asked how he would react if Ivanka, a former teen model, posed for Playboy, Trump replied, “It would be really disappointing — not really — but it would depend on what’s inside the magazine.”

    He added: “I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    Mr. Purity strikes again.

  24. 24
    RSA says:

    Actually, RSA, Tim, (logic pedant alert) the question of counterfactual belief is one of the single toughest problems of semantics.

    I thought you might chip in at some point. Thanks for the brief lesson; I’ve never read far enough to really understand the hard problems.

  25. 25
    Rome Again says:

    He added: “I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    and there you have an inside view of the mind of “The Donald”. He actually has thought of fucking his own daughter. SICK bastard.

  26. 26
    Tom Hilton says:

    He added: “I don’t think Ivanka would do that, although she does have a very nice figure. I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

    I need a shower.

  27. 27
    filkertom says:

    Head ‘splodey.

  28. 28
    mrmobi says:

    7. “Some scary looking chicks”? Excuse me? Or more precisely: what the fuckity-fucking fuck? African-American = ‘scary’?

    Thanks for that, Tom. I was also left sputtering by that remark. Capitan Avatar, you are piece of work.

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