Monday, 24 December 2007

A Merry Christmas to You All

Fewtril #221

It is perverse that the leaders of a modern nation feel they must honour the memory of the great men to whom that nation owes what it possesses in high culture and civility, and yet, were those great men alive today, they would be reviled for holding opinions that those leaders profess to find uncultured and uncivilised and unfit for the standing of a modern nation.

Fewtril #220

Fair consideration of impolitic or outmoded views requires an effort that can be more profitably spent in seeking favour with the times, whereby it is more efficient simply to hate them.

Fewtril #219

Through a strength of confidence hitherto unknown, the frivolous have learnt to take themselves and their works seriously — precisely those things for which their frivolity is apt.

Fewtril #218

With principles that leave the dirty work to others, one can enjoy a spotless conscience by which to condemn those others.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Amidst All This Bustle

“There is nothing which is not the subject of debate, and in which men of learning are not of contrary opinions. The most trivial question escapes not our controversy, and in the most momentous we are not able to give any certain decision. Disputes are multiplied, as if every thing were uncertain; and these disputes are managed with the greatest warmth, as if every thing was certain. Amidst all this bustle ’tis not reason, which carries the prize, but eloquence; and no man needs ever despair of gaining proselytes to the most extravagent hypothesis, who has art enough to represent it in any favourable colours.”
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David Hume, Introduction to A Treatise of Human Nature (New York: Dover Publications, 2003), p.ix.

SCFAI

“The security-council of the Feminist Association of Iceland has accused the directors and management of Valitor (Visa Iceland) of working for and taking part in the distribution of pornography.” [1] I must admit that I am taken aback — the Feminist Association of Iceland has a security-council! I cannot deny that I should be most delighted if it transpires that they also have an underground base with a monorail and a central control-room with a large screen showing a world-map. Suffice to say, a couple of sour-faced old trouts sitting around in the study-room of some dreary building at the University of Reykjavik plotting ways to sound more important doesn’t excite my romantic sensibilities quite so much.
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[1] [“Öryggisráð Femínistafélags Íslands kærði forstjóra og stjórn Valitor - Visa Ísland, fyrir að stuðla að og taka þátt í dreifingu kláms.”] Auði Alfífu Ketilsdóttur, “Femínistafélagið kærir Vísa-klám”, Mbl.is (Morgunblaðið), 11th December 2007.

Anthropozoology

Just as “there are no human races, just the one species: [H]omo sapiens”, [1] so there are no equine breeds, just the one species: Equus caballus; for, since intra-specific categories are subsumed by definition under just the one species, those categories are somehow obviated.
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[1] Simon Underdown, “Race against time”, Comment is Free (The Guardian’s weblog), 12th December 2007. (Italics and capitalisation added.)