Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My adventures on Wikipedia

>Kannazuki no Miko
>Japanese yen
>Bretton Woods System
>Monetary policy
>Federal Reserve System
>Nelson Aldrich
>Ambrose Burnside
>Battle of Fredericksburg
>Confederate States of America
>List of historical unrecognized states
>Anglo-Corsican Kingdom
>Italian language
>Italian American
>Irish American
>Joe Biden
>United States Senate special election in Delaware, 2010
>Christine O’Donnell

An observation, a simple observation.

Sarah Palin's Magical Mystery Tour is coming to my part of the country. I don't know who she thinks she's kidding but we're not frontier idiots here. They're not even frontier idiots in the frontier, because people in all places are smarter than she and her cohort give them credit for--and considering how dumb people are this is saying something. So she can get on her high horse and ride the fuck out of Dodge.

Ahem. That is all.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Book Review: A.C. Grayling's Hail-Mary pass at lasting relevance.

The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, the new ‘secular alternative to the Bible’ by the philosopher A.C. Grayling, is exactly what one might expect a book explicitly conceived of and written as a ‘secular alternative to the Bible’ to be like: Inoffensive, generic, and completely uninspired.
            There is a lot to dislike about Grayling, a professor at the University of London and fellow of St Anne’s College, Oxford, both for religious people and for irreligious people who have cultural or artistic interest in religion. With somebody like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens it is relatively easy to point to their relative (though not as extreme as sometimes made out) bitterness and rancour as reasons to, if nothing else, critique their motivations for behaving as they do while advancing their beliefs. This goes doubly for Sam ‘If I could wave a magic wand and get rid of either rape or religion, I would not hesitate to get rid of religion’ Harris. Grayling, on the other hand, is a lot harder to pin down. He is maddeningly vague about his opinions at some times and unexpectedly and inexcusably nasty at others, and when he is nasty he adopts a condescending attitude that makes one long for Dawkins and his ability to act as if he thinks that religious people are basically intelligent and normal people whether or not he actually does. I do not know why he decided to write The Good Book. I want to believe that he was acting in some form of good faith, however defined, but the contents of the book make this a little more problematic than one would like.
            The first problem with The Good Book, and one of the worse ones, is its style.