Archive for QOTW

Quote of the week

InStyle’s fashion news editor Eric Wilson chatted with fashion reporter Teri Agins (in the November issue) on the subject of Agins’ new book, Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers (New York: Gotham Books, 2014), and somewhere in the middle of things Wilson posed this question:

I still have conflicting feelings about Kanye West’s fashion collection in 2011. Should we have held him to a different standard because he’s a celebrity? He continues to bring up his treatment by the media and our negative reaction to his desire to become the world’s next top designer.

Agins replied:

Kanye raised his hand and decided that this was what he wanted to do. It wasn’t like he was going to try to sell a few snorkel jackets at Macy’s, like Sean Combs. He wanted to be like Balenciaga or Tom Ford. Bless his heart. He’s a talented entertainer, make no mistake about it. But just because you spent an afternoon with Azzedine Alaïa, that’s not going to make you a designer.

Bonus points for the canonical Southern use of “Bless his heart,” though Agins hails from the not-so-Southern metropolis of Kansas City, Kansas. This article (two pages total) was enough to drive me to seek out Agins’ book.

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Quote of the week

We open with a paragraph from Wikipedia, in case you missed what was going on:

Malala Yousafzai (born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani female education activist, who became the youngest ever Nobel Prize recipient in any category. She is known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women in her native Swat Valley in northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Yousafzai’s advocacy has since grown into an international movement.

All this, says Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid, makes it easy to hate her:

Do you think it’s easy for me to accept flag bearers of my religion as my enemy? Do you believe that it’s easy for me to accept the fact that a 16-year-old girl fearlessly took a stand against the biggest threat facing this country while men like me were busy being apologetic on the behalf of the “freedom fighters”?

Do you honestly believe that it’s easy for me to accept that a young girl from our neck of the woods, with all the societal handicaps that one can think of, can singlehandedly orchestrate a global rude awakening? The thought rips the bigoted, discriminatory and misogynistic ideals that I’ve grown up with, into tiny little shreds.

How can I accept Malala to be a hero, when her speeches do not have any Islamic or nationalistic agenda? How can I consider her to be my future leader when nothing she says or does imbues a false sense of superiority in me as a Muslim or a Pakistani? How can I accept that a young girl was able to highlight who our actual enemies are, when grown up men in our parliaments are still hell bent on befriending them?

How can I rejoice at Malala’s global achievement when I’ve been taught all my life that a girl’s place is in the kitchen? I just can’t.

The religion I follow is inherently misogynistic. The society I live in is quintessentially patriarchal. And I’m supposed to manifest ideals of gender equality and women empowerment out of the blue?

Tough questions. But in the long run, the penalty for a wrong answer is infinitely tougher.

(Via Blazing Cat Fur.)

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Quote of the week

The political left, somewhat more so than the right, tends to believe in the fundamental mutability of mankind: you can change minds, you can change hearts, you can change murderers into commencement speakers. Baseball owner Bill Veeck was pointing out the futility of this sort of thing before many of them were born:

When I signed Larry Doby, the first Negro player in the American League, we received 20,000 letters, most of them in violent and sometimes obscene protest. Over a period of time I answered all. In each answer, I included a paragraph congratulating them on being wise enough to have chosen parents so obviously to their liking. If everyone knew their precious secret, I told them, I was sure everyone would conform to the majority. Until that happy day, I wrote, I was sure they would agree that any man should be judged on his personal merit and allowed to exploit his talents to the fullest, whether he happened to be black, green, or blue with pink dots.

I am afraid irony is lost on these people, but that’s not the point I want to make here. A year later, I was a collector for what is now called the Combined Jewish Appeal. This time, I got something close to 5,000 violent and sometimes obscene letters. In answering, something interesting happened. The names began to have a familiar ring. I became curious enough to check our files and I found they were to an astonishing degree — about 95 percent — the same people. A year after that, I converted to Catholicism. About 2,000 anti-Catholics were concerned enough about my soul to write me violent and again often obscene letters. All but a handful of them were already in our anti-Negro and anti-Semite files.

So I am one man who has documentary proof that prejudice is indivisible. The jackal, after all, doesn’t care what kind of animal he sinks his teeth into.

Once an asshat, always an asshat.

The kind soul who dug up this Veeck quote added:

So to all those who claim the Internet has led to some degree of courtesy breakdowns, moral decay, and Loss Of Values, I just want to say the following:

It’s always been like this. It’s just a lot faster now.

Note that no one is saying you don’t have a right to your opinion. You don’t, however, have a right to make anyone give a damn about it.

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Quote of the week

Most of us, at one time or another, will encounter someone who is Clearly Inferior, and we won’t say a word because, well, we’re just not that way.

Which is a shame, because being that way leaves open the possibility of a denunciation like this:

Let me tell you why. I’m not in WalMars wearing what looks like a drag-queen’s best curtains turned into yoga pants and basted with neon. I’m not testing the tensile strength of those pants by sausaging a 10 pound rump roast into a 2 pound sack. I’m not wearing a t-shirt with what I can only imagine are strategically placed holes designed to let all eligible males know you are open for business and your nipples, even though they’re at approximate knee level, are fantastic as far as you and your pimp go. I don’t smell like I rolled in a puddle made of wet dog and Old Thunderholt and then sprinkled my seven-acre cleavage with glitter and cheap cigarillo ashes. I speak normal, understandable English. I haven’t spent my entire net worth on acrylic talons the length of Godzilla’s dick so I have to try to con the cashier into letting me get my generic cigarettes on the food stamp card. But you know the main reason, the absolute main reason I’m better than you?

I’m not you. Put that in your crack pipe, which I see sticking out of your oversized, stuffed with thongs you just shoplifted, purse, and smoke it.

Invertebrates like me will simply shop somewhere else and pay the extra $6.19 a week.

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Quote of the week

Tam’s thoughts on EbolaCorps:

I was going to get outraged and say “The military is not there to boost the president’s poll numbers!” but that would be disingenuous; of course they are, and presidents have been using them for that since George had to make a standing army to go shake down Pennsylvanian farmers. But they should at least be used for military-type missions.

The administration says that the troops in West Africa will be there for logistical support reasons, to build hospitals and refugee housing and whatnot. But haven’t I just spent a whole damned Iraq war hearing about how KBR and DynCorp and Spacely Sprockets can do that stuff cheaper and more effectively than the lumbering dinosaur of the DoD?

Are we sending 3,000 personnel into even theoretical danger so that congresscritters in tough races can go pose with carefully-selected-for-diversity photo-op platoons of ACU-clad troopies stacking rice bags and building hospitals among throngs of smiling wogs right before election time? It’s cynical of me to think so, but if true, then for shame! (As though the parties responsible would know shame if it bit them on the ass.)

At the very least, we should be sending congresscritters into theoretical danger. Or maybe not so theoretical; if they’re so damned important, let’s have their boots on the ground.

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Quote of the week

There has been much wailing and gnashing of lipstick-stained teeth over the continuing presence of those horrid little micro- (and sometimes macro-) aggressions known as gender roles; what’s more, a not-quite-insignificant percentage of one-half the species has sworn eternal enmity toward the entirety of the other half. James Lileks sums up (some of) the kerfuffle:

Modern-day sororal self-segregation is more of the same, and if they wish to form their own mutual-assistance societies of whatever form, go right ahead. No man will sue to join. To paraphrase Groucho, they wouldn’t want to join a club that wouldn’t want him for his member.

As for the male-free Internet thing, I can sympathize. Most of the vicious, idiotic, miserable, weevil-souled trolls are men, or rather largish boys who grew up on the internet and have not quite grasped the idea that there are true, actual human beings on the other side of the screen. Comments and tweets are just another form of electronic play; you shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto, call a strange woman nasty names because she criticizes, say, the fact that you can shoot a hooker in the head in Grand Theft Auto. It’s just a game you **** and someone should do it to you. And so on.

It’s odd. You know most of these boy-men were brought up in solid homes with religious grounding, taught to respect women in the old chivalric sense of courtesy and respect, right? My heavens, what went wrong? You could say it’s confusion over how they’re supposed to behave: if you hold the door open for a woman, you’re a sexist, unless she likes you, in which case it’s romantic, although if you don’t hold the door open and it slams in her face you’re a jerk. But these roles were in flux when I was in my twenties, and we didn’t react by sending obscene postcards to strangers. It has to be something else. The internet, in general, has not created more idiots, fools, miscreants, pedants, and fiends; it has simply revealed their numberless hordes, and given them a limitless plain on which to play.

I’ve said this repeatedly at concentrations of douchery like, say, Yahoo! Answers: The asshats have always been with us. It’s just that they’ve made themselves marginally harder to ignore.

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Quote of the week

In Iraq War 3.0, whose boots will actually be on the ground? A prediction by nemo paradise:

So, if the Kurds (excellent cavalrymen all, and demonstrably fierce warriors) and the “Iraqi security forces” (who, when they last encountered ISIS, ran like scalded dogs, littering the battlefield with weapons ranging from pistols and rifles to armored personnel carriers and field artillery) are going to do the actual fighting, what is left for the US/Euro coalition?

According to our sources, the following assignments are contemplated:

U.S.: Carpet-bombing.
Britain: Blathering and pettifoggery.
France: Catering.
Australia: Loud insults.
Canada: Snowplows.
Germany: Beer.
Turkey: Colorful banners.
Italy: White flags.
Poland: Paprika.
Denmark: Skis and luges.

At least they’re contributing in the way they know best. I am minded of General Schwarzkopf’s comment on our catering-minded ally: “Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordion.”

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Quote of the week

Gagdad Bob explains the current composition of the Democratic Party:

[H]ere’s a timely aphorism by [Nicolás Gómez] Dávila: “The worst demagogues are not recruited from the envious poor, but from among the embarrassed wealthy.”

This fully explains the high-low composition of the Democratic party, with super-wealthy elites at one end and lofo and lower IQ hordes at the other. You could say that the difference between the two is that the elites are bankrupt in every way except financially.

This little formula explains why the wealthiest counties in the nation trend Democrat, just as do places like Ferguson. The two are locked in a deathly parasitic embrace, for liberals destroy and have destroyed the very people they most rely upon to support them at the polls, and the underclass can be relied upon to support the very people and polices that ensure its own continued ruin. The resultant civilizational collapse is what they call “progress.”

If these are the parasites, who then are the hosts? Answer: everyone else.

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Quote of the week

From a New York Times profile of Michele Roberts, the new executive director of the NBA Players Association, which includes this report from her appearance before actual players:

She said she was all too aware that if she was selected, she would represent several hundred male athletes in the N.B.A.; she would deal with league officials and agents who were nearly all men; she would negotiate with team owners who were almost all men; and she would stand before reporters who were predominantly men.

She did not flinch. “My past,” she told the room, “is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on.”

Billy Hunter, her predecessor, never said anything that forceful — and he used to be an NFL wide receiver, fercrissake.

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Quote of the week

Roberta X on a generation growing up ahistorical:

Funny thing: war is Hell. Tam knows it. I know it. Polished and perfumed professional network journalist in NYC? She doesn’t know it. A blue zillion history books and documentaries out there and I doubt she’s even seen Hellcats Of The Navy. In [Savannah Guthrie's] world, WW II, concentration camps, aerial firebombings, death marches, atom bombs and all, was a kind of multi-year Boy Scout Jamboree with some spirited disagreements.

When the next World War comes marchin’ in — as seems more likely with every passing day — it’ll have stunningly white teeth and near-total amnesia.

Which are prerequisites for today’s version of TV news. In fact, I think they may be the only prerequisites, at least for the males; females presumably have to pass a skirt-length standard.

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Quote of the week

Glenn Reynolds takes the long view on capital punishment:

I’m skeptical of the death penalty’s administration because the criminal justice system is a disaster. But, assuming guilt, I don’t really care much about the morality of killing people. The nation-state is all about killing people. Its sole reason for existing is that it’s better at killing people in large numbers than any other form of human organization. If you don’t like the idea of the state killing people, you don’t like the idea of the state. If you don’t realize this, it’s because your thinking is confused.

If this perturbs you, ask yourself the question Reynolds hints at: “At what other function can the nation-state be legitimately deemed superior?” No matter what you come up with, it will be based on the power of coercion — at the point of a gun.

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Quote of the week

Forty-five years ago, there seemed to be no limits:

I watched with my grandmother’s second husband, a tall, thin, spare man born in 1900. He’d seen air travel when it meant doped canvas and spruce wood and gasoline engines that may or may not continue running and now he was sitting and watching a man land on the moon. When we heard “The Eagle has landed” that old man clapped me on the back and said that he envied me and what I was going to see, and that he wished he was going to be alive to know … what? … what would we discover … what wonderful things would we learn?

We never contemplated that the future doesn’t always bring progress. That knowledge is power and that power corrupts and that the glory of Rome was followed by the Dark Ages and the Library of Alexandria was burned by ignorant barbarians who, barbarians they may have been but they were victorious barbarians and if you can’t create then you destroy and loot the creation of others.

But boys and girls let me tell you one thing … it was a glorious day, back in ’69. Right there on live TV, out in public where the whole world could see.

Oh look, the Kardashians are on.

And that’s the way it is, Sunday, July 20th, two thousand fourteen. How far we have fallen.

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Quote of the week

The Ruling Class really, really hates not getting to rule:

Most of all, I think — they despise us for not giving a damn what they think particularly, and rejecting practically everything that they tell us to do — ride public transportation, move into urban stack-a-prole housing, give up eating meat (or much of anything else), and continuing to believe that we can raise our own children and sort out our own lives without self-elected nannies breathing down our necks 24-7. Very likely the well-manicured and delicate hands of the new ruling class itch for a whip to give us all a good thrashing for our temerity. Indeed — they are no longer our countrymen in spirit, any more than the Tory sympathizers who departed the American colonies two hundred years and more ago are.

Civil war, you say? Not a chance — of it being civil, anyway.

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Quote of the week

Your humble narrator, having previously contemplated continuing shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund, has recommended an increase in the fuel tax, one of the less intrusive options available.

Congressmen don’t think like that. Jack Baruth quotes one, and gets at the heart of the matter:

“If all we did was set this up to collect the road fee, that’s actually a more expensive way to collect the fee. The gas tax is actually a very inexpensive tax to collect. But if we are able to have a platform that does all these other things, to share the costs, and give people a richer transportation experience, I think people will voluntarily make that transition.”

We’re missing all the air quotes, I think, let’s put them back in:

I “think” people will “voluntarily” make that “transition”

When you read “voluntarily” in modern wonk-speak, you can take that to mean “Any amount of resistance short of facing down the Bureau of Land Management with the local redneck militia,” and that’s what it means here as well. The motorists of America will be given a single option: GPS-based usage tracking tied to a central payment account that will also be debited for parking and traffic tickets. It’s perfectly easy to imagine a speed camera just sitting by the site of the road dinging every motorist who goes by at 1mph over the limit a nice, round five hundred bucks. And why not?

Naturally, the same government that manages to lose all the incriminating IRS emails will keep solid-gold-permanent records of your travels until the end of time. If they do it with the justly-reviled public-private partnership, those records will be sold to Equifax and your insurance company as well. With your travel and your Carnivore records, the government knows exactly who and what you are. In real time, they’ll be able to understand your entire life. Imagine the day when driving to an oncology clinic results in a sit-down with your company’s HR representative to discuss your future with the company. Or the day when your employer can simply buy a list of your whereabouts sorted to its particular interest. Or the day when parking your car outside a gun store every Sunday and walking across the street for ice cream results in the ATF visiting your house to discuss your gun-nut tendencies. Or the day when driving through known drug-sales areas results in a SWAT team tossing a flashbang into your child’s crib.

Note the ludicrous phrase “richer transportation experience.” Any “richer” experience, as defined in DC-speak, makes you poorer by definition: not only are the results not favorable to you, but you have to pay for them in the first place.

“Oh, Jack, you teatard anarchist commie libertarian,” you’re sighing. “How else are they supposed to address the Highway Fund problem?” Well, I would suggest that destroying the last vestiges of privacy and liberty in this country are not any less meaningful than keeping up the pace of road construction. I would also suggest that it’s not my job to come up with ideas as to how the government can easily accomplish its goals without trampling its citizens underfoot. But since you asked, I’ll come up with one: A ten percent tariff on cheap goods imported from China would add 50% to the existing Highway Fund tax level, enough to address all concerns for the foreseeable future.

Assuming, of course, you could get the idiots in Washington to spend it on that, as opposed to any of the useless crap they’d want to spend it on.

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Fark blurb of the week

Rolf Harris convicted of having young girls tie his kangaroo down.

(Linked to this. Check the shed for suspiciously tanned hides.)

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Quote of the week

Francis W. Porretto, on the country’s rapidly expanding “non-military” military:

In a nation where “laws” (and “regulations” enforced as “laws”) have proliferated so voluminously that even the most astute legal specialists cannot know them adequately, does “law and order” constitute a sufficient justification for a fully militarized police system?

An effectively nationalized police system?

Armed and armored by the Department of Defense?

Equipped with tools of surveillance beyond Orwell’s imagination?

Whose myrmidons are indemnified for any acts of wrongdoing no matter how dramatic?

If so, how do these United States differ in principle from North Korea?

After reading up on the DPRK’s Ministry of People’s Security, I’m inclined to think that the only substantive difference is volume.

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Quote of the week

Roberta X has had enough of our little pissing contests:

Once again, Larry Correia, John Scalzi and some nitwit I never heard of much are spatting. In a better world, I’d be able to say, “Boys! Go to your rooms,” but until I am elected Empress of All For Life, here’s a stopgap for the cheering hundreds, specifically those writing comments along the order of, “Yeah! $BAD _STUFF should happen to $GUY_I_DISAGREE_WITH! He’s bad and he should feel bad about it.”

Yeah, y’know what, Bucko? No. Not. This here is the United States of America and people are allowed to be right out there being WRONG, walking around and talking and spreading wrongness and bad advice everywhere. And dammit, that’s actually how most of us like it. Oh, we don’t want to sit next to ‘em on the bus, those wrong people who disagree with us, but if it’s the last seat left, we will, and most of the time, they’ll even scooch over a bit.

And unfuck you Left, Right or Center if you don’t like that. No, seriously: that attitude is The Real Problem. It’s the very same exact damn thing that led to riots by chariot-team boosters in Byzantium. I don’t expect it will change, really.

You can read some of the spattage for yourself if you’re so inclined. In the meantime, I await the rise of her empire.

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Fark blurb of the week

Therapist arrestedafter reportof sexualassault.

(Linked to this [warning: irritating popup survey].)

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Quote of the week

“If only” seems to bedevil all of us at one time or another. (If you’ve managed to avoid it thus far, you’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.) Sometimes it goes like this:

I wish I were one of those “successful” bloggers. You know. The kind who can paint a pretty picture of their lives — they have lovely kids, they are super-good at their work, their hobby projects always turn out lovely and just as they planned them, they never seem to struggle or agonize. All their pictures are nice and none of them turn out to have a bit of the laundry basket peeking out in the corner of the picture of something else. When they bake bread, it looks like a picture in a cooking magazine. But I don’t have enough perfection in my life to be able to do that — it seems like my whole life is a big hot mess, and so all I can do is show the slightly-more-successful parts of the hot mess here. Maybe if I had a spouse or family close by or lots of close in-person friends I could talk about the stuff that bothers me instead of posting it here, I could be one of those serene bloggers who seems to have a perfect life. I don’t know.

Truth be told, I think the warts-and-all approach is much more appropriate, at least at this level, where you’re not counting on the daily bloggage to pay for your daily bread. I often wonder how much I’d have to scour this place if I were trying to make a living from it, instead of writing off some insignificant sum each year. (By “insignificant,” I mean “somewhere in the high two or low three figures.”) Besides, we have the example of Adobe Photoshop to guide us. In the smallest possible doses, it can shed light on important details. Overused, it creates a monster.

On the term “hot mess” itself, I like this below-the-top paragraph from Urban Dictionary:

No one set of guidelines can perpetually determine what distinguishes a “hot mess” from an above-average train wreck. Regardless of the circumstances, you know it when you see it; because they are typically conspicuous, and obviously they are always awesome.

And you know, if you’re going for a train wreck, you might as well go for above average.

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Quote of the week

David Warren’s conspectus — as distinguished from “prospectus” — for Canada’s Conservative Party:

If elected, we promise to do nothing. There will be no new initiative in any area of government. Should some foreign power threaten us, we shall smoosh them promptly. Should some other unforeseen event positively demand our attention, we shall respond in like spirit to make it go away. Such contingencies aside, we shall avoid enterprise of any sort. Instead, we shall devote our entire attention, not to doing, but to undoing things. And not just little things but big things; and not just a few notoriously rotten apples in the eyes of vested interests known to be unloved, but the whole apple pie, the whole bakery. We shall make the Tea Party in the United States look like a bunch of socialist whiners. We shall make the UKIP in Britain look like Europhiles. Our ambition, as we cling to power, shall be to undo every gratuitous Act of Parliament, or other superannuated government measure, going back to Confederation, if not to Champlain. We shall repeal legislation, erase regulations, close government departments, demolish the buildings, salt the earth on which they stood, fire and retire civil servants by the refugee shipload. We shall sack them on the beaches, we shall sack them on the landing grounds, we shall sack them in the fields and in the streets, we shall start with the CBC. Our motto shall be that of the Machine Gun Corps of the British Army in the Great War. (“Saul hath slain his thousands, but David his tens of thousands.”) We shall do this deliberately and persistently and remorselessly with no more attention to public opinion than will be necessary to lure our opponents into traps.

Inexplicably — or maybe not so inexplicably — the Conservatives chose not to adopt this as a platform.

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Quote of the week

This dates back almost a hundred years, and in so doing has dated not a whit:

The American of today, in fact, probably enjoys less personal liberty than any other man of Christendom, and even his political liberty is fast succumbing to the new dogma that certain theories of government are virtuous and lawful, and others abhorrent and felonious. Laws limiting the radius of his free activity multiply year by year: It is now practically impossible for him to exhibit anything describable as genuine individuality, either in action or in thought, without running afoul of some harsh and unintelligible penalty. It would surprise no impartial observer if the motto “In God we trust” were one day expunged from the coins of the republic by the Junkers at Washington, and the far more appropriate word, “verboten,” substituted. Nor would it astound any save the most romantic if, at the same time, the goddess of liberty were taken off the silver dollars to make room for a bas-relief of a policeman in a spiked helmet. Moreover, this gradual (and, of late, rapidly progressive) decay of freedom goes almost without challenge; the American has grown so accustomed to the denial of his constitutional rights and to the minute regulation of his conduct by swarms of spies, letter-openers, informers and agents provocateurs that he no longer makes any serious protest.

(From The American Credo: A Contribution toward the Interpretation of the National Mind, by H. L. Mencken, 1920.)

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Relatively few QOTWs come with footnotes, but this particular version does have one, and it deserves inclusion:

While the Margaret Atwoods of the world worry about the Baptists enacting some horrible draconian theocracy here in the US*, it’s actually happening in other corners of the world. I guess over there it’s charming and ethnic and we shouldn’t judge them by our imperialistic Western standards. Why, one person’s flogging for an unapproved marriage is no different from another person’s $15 ticket for jaywalking!

* Both atheists and believers want to feel oppressed here, because oppression is the coin of the realm in 21st century America and can be traded for valuable cash and prizes.

Yep. Don’t even think about writing a memoir unless you can cite examples where you were victimized by The Man, or at the very least by The System.

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Quote of the week

Dead Pony Club labelBritain’s Portman Group, a trade group of brewers and distillers and such, is assigned the task of, says Wikipedia, “advocacy of responsible drinking and research into UK alcohol consumption.” And they will tell you that they were just doing their job when they ruled that BrewDog’s marketing campaign for its Dead Pony Club ale “encourages both anti-social behaviour and rapid drinking.”

BrewDog, the largest Scottish independent brewery, was suitably apologetic:

“On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its 14,691 individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a s*** about today’s ruling.

“Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a s***about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.

“Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants. Their raison d’être is to provide a diversion for the true evils of this industry, perpetrated by the gigantic faceless brands that pay their wages.”

It goes on from there.

(Via Fark. This is not even slightly related to Dead Pony Flying, a short-short story by, um, me.)

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Quote of the week

Two members of Congress who, you might think, ought to know better — until you remember that they’re members of Congress and therefore don’t know anything, better or otherwise — have proposed Federal regulation of photo manipulation. James Lileks says they’re aiming at the wrong target:

This still doesn’t address the real problem, does it? Advertising is the problem. Advertising holds up images of some ideal we cannot achieve, and thus causes aspiration, which ends in misery. Who among us hasn’t watched TV for half an hour, studied the ads like the revelatory playlets they are, then left the house to eat fried chicken, enlist in the Marines, buy a $47,999 car, and ask our doctor whether Vilevria is right for us? It’s all I can do after seeing an Oil of Olay ad to keep from running up to my wife’s drawer of potions, slathering the stuff on my face, and shouting HURRY UP AND DEFY THE RAVAGES OF TIME at my reflection. Ads are not suggestions. These are marching orders beamed directly into our quivering id, and we’ve no defense against them.

So we need to change the entire advertising paradigm: Companies will be permitted to show a picture of the product, and a monotone voice will describe its attributes as determined by an impartial board empowered to strike out any language that suggests that the consumption of this taco has any nominal advantage over the consumption of any other taco. The company will be allowed to assert that the “Mucho Fiero Grande” sauce has a more substantial “kick” than the competitor, based on lab analysis of the capsaicin content measured in Scoville units.

If you have a poor self-image because you don’t compare favorably to what you see in print or on television, you’re wrong; yes, you should have a poor self-image, not because you don’t own this or you don’t look like that, but because you’re credulous enough to think those things matter.

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