Thursday 29 October 2020

Inspirational Quotes: Politics 101

We’ve been socialized to believe that poverty is a personal failure rather than our systems failing us. (Mariah Carey for V Magazine)

For Jacob Rees-Mogg, the sovereign individual really is able to master their own destiny. Nothing – poverty, ill-health, institutional racism – can stand in the way of someone with the right attitude and work ethic. Most people grow out of this fantasy of omnipotence by the age of five, about the same time they realise that Superman isn’t real. (Guardian 2019)

One crucial reason why we have done so little to reduce inequality in recent years is that we downplay the role of luck in achieving success. Parents teach their children that almost all goals are attainable if you try hard enough. This is a lie, but there is a good excuse for it: unless you try your best, many goals will definitely remain unreachable. (Guardian June 2019)

Anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live.
(Guardian, 2019)

Both the World Health Organization and the United Nations have made statements in the past decade that mental health is a social indicator, requiring “social, as well as individual, solutions.” Indeed, WHO Europe stated in 2009 that “[a] focus on social justice may provide an important corrective to what has been seen as a growing overemphasis on individual pathology.” (

Stop commending people for being resilient and instead redesign the systems that inherently make people suffer. (@TweetsByBilal)

The most overused word over the last 15 years is resilience in terms of popular culture.(@LincolnTapper)

Illness is neither an indulgence for which people have to pay, nor an offence for which they should be penalised, but a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community.
(Aneurin Bevan)

Whether it's claiming George Soros is paying protesters, or saying a student-conceived, student-led day of national protest is an insidious liberal scam, the right just can't believe anyone would stick their neck out for someone other than themselves. (@AndyRichter)

I dislike the hierarchy that determines how many oppression points each particular group gets. (AT via Facebook)

"Victim: a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action." I have no problem saying I'm a victim. It doesn't mean I'm weak or silent or passive... There's no shame in that. None. (@CIssyvoo)

No one knows how to be more of a victim than people who are always whining about other people being victims. (@ctk86)

One of the weirdest things about US culture is when people say things like "I am not a victim" or treat the status of victim as if it is morally reprehensible. It says a lot that this culture holds so much contempt for the harmed and so much justification for the harmer. (Kaitlyn Greenidge @surlybassey)

I find that a lot of my feminism is actually not about arguing that women are people, but arguing that men are—that men have moral agency, that they make choices, and that we can and should expect them to make better choices. (@MoiraDonegan)

Two feminist mantras that changed my life: Everybody has a choice. Go for what's winnable. 70s feminists talked as if men had no agency (unhappy childhood, anger problems). And their aims were very blue-skies. (@MagDods)

Feminism gained a bad name all by itself for getting snarled up in internecine warfare and bickering over linguistic use, which put people off. (LW)

Women have not, as a sex, or a class, the calmness of temperament or the balance of mind, nor have they the training, necessary to qualify them to exercise a weighty judgment in political affairs. (Lord Curzon, circa 1910)


So much of the "safe space liberal snowflake" thing comes down to asking people for kindness and consideration of others, in ways that are, by and large, almost entirely cost-free. How broken do you have to be to get angry at that? (@Mc_Heckin_Duff)

Not broken, I don't think. More a sense of a wound inflicted by people unlike you demanding the same safety and autonomy that you've always had, and it brushing up against yours. Since you never thought of it as domination (or at all), the contact of theirs with yours – the sense that there's a room you might not be welcome in, just as you've always maintained (intentionally or not, by explicit or tacit consent) rooms into which they might not go – feels like a threat to your own security, rather than a levelling-up. (@pdkmitchell)

Were I feeling generous, I’d suggest it maybe originated with a generation of people who were brought up being told to stoically maintain stiff upper lips, learn to stand on their own two feet, etc etc. And then they don’t know how to react to this sort of stuff because it’s whipping the rug out from under their entire worldview. (@RJMrgn)

90% of the time I’ve heard ‘trigger warning’ or ‘safe space’ it has been from the mouth or pen of an ageing, spluttering commentator who hasn’t been on campus for 40 years, and I am an actual lecturer. (@lottelydia. Someone in the conversation adds that her students say “What are trigger warnings?”.)

Well, there's also the issue that freedom of speech has never meant 'freedom of speech anywhere and anytime you choose and expecting no consequence', which is what a lot of people shouting 'censorship' from the rooftops absolutely think it means. (@R3v0lvr0shawott)

It's easy to defend 'free speech' when the speech in question doesn't directly affect you. Yes, people may defend those they disagree with, even people who mean them harm, but show me someone happy to defend words with the power make their own life harder and you'll show me a fool. (@parislees)

I really hate this woke climate where it is so forbidden to utter something offensive that you have to say it in quiet shadowy tucked away places like
Question Time and breakfast TV and every mainstream newspaper. (@matthaig1)

Cancelled is depicted as if it in some way places a barrier across the flow of your entitlement to say what you want without consequence ... If we can hear you whine, you're not cancelled. (@oxymoronictimes)

Every harm-reduction org always gets public outrage for "encouraging immoral behaviour," be it drugs, safe sex, or anything else. Deep down, this is because those doing the moral policing need the harms to stay in place to make their points. (@Mc_Heckin_Duff )

Training as a historian teaches you quickly that to find the oppressor, just find who is most strenuously insisting everyone be polite. (@meakoopa)

There is a certain politics of ineffectiveness that some people refuse to let go of. It's a politics that assumes rules and decorum will be enforced even without a governing body in power that cares about those rules.

People tend to vote the same way as other people like them. Social groups make rough judgments about whether a party will govern in the interests of people like them. And they look around to see if other people like them agree, before the whole lot of them jump together. (Danny Finklestein, Times 2020)

The more power the right has, the more it thinks the left controls everything. (@PaulbernalUK)

After the war a nation that had got used to doing what it was told through things like rationing and blackout curtains believed for decades in public control: council houses, not slums; the NHS, not charity hospitals or hard cash; bodies like the Milk Marketing Board. Nowadays the unshakable faith resides in the exact opposite: in competition and privatisation. It's believed with fundamentalist zeal that making people compete, preferably for money, must work better than people trying to co-operate. (Katharine Whitehorn)

The Tories in England long imagined that they were enthusiastic about monarchy, the church, and the beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about ground rent. (Karl Marx, 1852)

The notion that anything funded for queer and/or people of colour is a frivolous waste of money is a pernicious theme the Mail has loved to push
. (@marcusjdl)

The left say that there's no certainty - there's always a get-out and logic doesn't apply - while the right says that there is certainty and then goes further by pushing its own view of the universe. (MT)

Pay-gap deniers are the new flat earthers.
(@hansmollman. The pay-gap deniers have gone quiet, 2020.)

From the open nepotism of the East to the slightly more concealed nepotism and ‘old boys’ club’ of the Western democracies. (Agatha Christie, An Autobiography)

One cannot pretend that differences in income do not separate people. (Agatha Christie, An Autobiography)

Most people who identify as 'centrist' have absolutely no concept of a political spectrum and just assume their personal views are the views of a sensible, non-extreme majority. (@mrdavidwhitley)

It is often said that people on the left judge purely on whether others are for and against America and the West in general. (JP)

You only look at masks as oppression if you’ve never experienced any. (Via the Web)

It's always other people who are the 'powerful elite', isn't it? (@WhenisBirths)

The abstract goods of “freedom” and “control” are, at every point, put above the concrete goods of people having jobs, food on supermarket shelves, peace in Ireland, people not dying for lack of medicine etc. And instead of admitting they goofed, they’re — backfire effect! — doubling down.
(Sam Leith on Brexit)

So far, this thread on the Remain and Leave campaigns has extensively considered the nature of truth, metal fatigue in aeroplanes, proprioception, the shape of our planet, the use of Aramaic in the New Testament, and jelly. (SP at

More here, and links to the rest.

Monday 26 October 2020

Grammar: Similes 8

The City reminds me of a vast bathroom cabinet with all the perfume "brand" shaped bottles jostling for attention. (Karl Renner)

It was like closing a drawer on last year’s hat. (Margery Allingham)

A London sky the colour of poured concrete. (@ThamesChoral)

Zoom interference is like listening to elephants having a bath.

The moon looks like a coin, poised to disappear into a slot!
(Tom Shakespeare)

The stillness of a lizard in danger. (@chunkbardey)

Heat as thick as Bisto. (
Rob Chapman, Ad Lib)

Sitting up to get washed and dressed was like tunnelling into the centre of a granite mountain with a blunt plastic spork.

It looks like it’s still a computer model. (Chris Young on Facebook on a bland new housing development)

I was heartened when the images of my "beautified" face turned out to be so terrifying that I would rather have my own face any day. They all make me look like a European socialite whose last three husbands died under mysterious circumstances. (@TamlynRogers)

I've always felt late to the party, like my invitation was transported by several pigeons, each bearing part of the message. (Via FB)

A Christmas crib with very clean shepherds, and angels who looked as if they had all been to the same public school. (Mary Renault, The Friendly Young Ladies)

Old Vincent had retired in 1910, and since then he and his wife had shown about as much activity, mental or physical, as a couple of shellfish. (George Orwell, Coming Up for Air)

The Home Office, the government department that makes Mordor look like the Samaritans. (Tom Holland)

Keeping a stiff upper lip is “like stuffing everything inconvenient in a closet and having someone open the door suddenly and being surrounded by old tennis rackets”. (Liz Williams)

This reed bunting's nest "looks like a bit of hipster artisanal basketwork". (Steve Backshall on Springwatch)

She made him feel as though he were taking part in a verse drama, and had just heard that Troy had fallen. This morning… she sounded as though she was on her way to bury Polyneices.
(Norman Collins, Bond Street Story)

Chelsea for me. It’s like an empty creme brûlée - all pretty and crystalline but when you break through the sugar surface it’s a sad, disappointing void. (@Gemma_Champ)

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 23 October 2020

Loopy Logic 7: Paradox

In a week when we've been told that giving children food won't solve the problem of poverty, here are some counterintuitive tropes to wheel out when you don't want to give Oliver Twist more gruel.

The common theme from MPs who voted against Free School Meals outside term time is that there are better ways to target poverty support, i.e. there is a risk that food might be given to someone who isn’t actually starving. These are people who will spend hundreds of millions on systems to evaluate the poverty of recipients, rather than spend tens of millions on feeding people. (DS via Facebook)

Diversity Is Divisive (Spiked headline)

Acceptance is actually the key to things changing. (Via Twitter)

Happiness won’t make you happy. Getting what you want won’t make you happy. Acquiring the things that make people happy won’t make you happy. (You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life. Albert Camus)

Making cycling helmets compulsory makes cycling less safe.

The real gap between the rich and the poor is not money (Headline)

Building more houses won’t solve the housing crisis.

Banning trolls won’t stop online abuse.

Passing laws won’t give women equal pay.

Giving beggars money won’t stop them being poor. (The same goes for a universal basic income.)

Cutting spending won’t reduce the deficit.

Feeding the hungry won’t make them less hungry.

Culling urban foxes won’t reduce their numbers.

Helping shy or autistic children won’t actually help them. They need to learn to do things on their own.

Complaining about or even mentioning the subject of (anti-Semitism, sexual harassment) exacerbates the problem. (The existence of Jewish stereotypes in the US is an advantage for Jews professionally and socially. @RedKahina)

Trophy hunting supports conservation.

Helping addicts won’t improve their lot.

Hunting preserves the British countryside.  (Andrea Leadsom promised to bring back fox hunting in order to improve animal welfare.)

Showing vulnerability shows your strength.

Drinking water when you’re thirsty will only make you more thirsty.

Sitting over a fire makes you colder.

Sugar-free diet drinks make you fatter.

Diets make you fat.

We can’t give practical help to the poor because they’d only – it used to be “spend it all on colour tellies”. (Probably now "flat-screen TVs". TVs are all flat-screen now.)

We can’t give poor people bathrooms because they’d only use them to store coal.

We can't teach shy people social skills because we want to go on believing that behaviour is spontaneous.

Don’t oppose them, it only encourages them.

Crop failure is not the cause of hunger.

Cutting benefits to bereaved children will help them recover sooner.

Banning guns won’t reduce gun crime. (Why banning AR-15s and other assault weapons won’t stop mass shootings, headline Washington Post, 2016)

Wearing a veil is empowering.

It's cruel to be kind.

AND... Lockdown won't reduce Covid cases.

PLUS... Counting votes is undemocratic.
(Did someone really say this?)

Coalition Senators in Australia say that wind turbines are likely to cause greenhouse gas emissions to increase. (Headline)

Is there a term for when someone says "your complaining about racism/sexism is actually what's causing racism/sexism"? (@americanwombat)

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 22 October 2020

Reasons to Be Cheerful 27

Radio 4 no longer broadcasts plays performed by a white cast but set in the West Indian or Jewish communities (“Oy vey!”). We don’t wear snakeskin much any more, I hope.

In 1880s Chicago, there were enough interracial couples that they regularly held a ball, attended by hundreds of people, and had a social organisation dedicated to their families.
(Kaitlyn Greenidge)

Clarinettist and band leader Benny Goodman made history as the first musician to perform jazz with an integrated band in Carnegie Hall in 1938. (Wikipedia)

Thought to be extinct, New Guinea’s Singing Dogs Found Alive in the Wild (

In 2020, we've suffered a pandemic, Brexit looms, and villages are threatened by road-building. But:

Sadiq Khan introduces children-only buses to get children to school safely.
The Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford is removing shrunken heads etc from display.

Thailand outlaws gender-change surgery on those under 18.
The Tavistock's gender clinic will undergo an NHS review, and a detransitioner is taking it to court.

September: Plans to allow people to “self-identify” as a different gender will be formally dropped by the government this week. Ministers have decided against the proposals, which were developed under Theresa May’s government, to allow transgender people to change their birth certificates without a medical diagnosis. (Times. Applicants still have to “show they have lived in their chosen gender for two years and intend to do so for the rest of their lives”.)

Start-Rite shoes pledges to make names of children’s shoes gender-neutral.
The Honours Committee is considering removing the word “empire” from honours.
TV licence evaders (mainly women) will no longer face prison.
The UK Government bans micro-homes (tiny flats carved out of office blocks).

France announces a “gradual” ban on wild animals in circuses and breeding cetaceans in captivity, also mink farms.

The US Department of Defense Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration Annual Report concluded that “ABA services (behavioural training) are not effective”.

Cruise ships are being broken up on a beach in Turkey.
Sally-Anne Huang is the first female High Master of St Paul’s school in London.

October: Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle bans alcohol sales in the House of Commons as some MPs represent areas where pubs are closed, and the HoC goes dry for the first time since 1653.

York is to get a rabbi 800 years after the pogrom.
Lebanon acquires its first all-female aircrew.
The Welsh government renationalises the country’s railways.

In 2021, the pension age is not rising to 67 – for the moment.


1800 The French government passes a law forbidding women from wearing male attire in public without a permit.

Until 1900, married women couldn't own property in all American states.
Until 1920, women couldn't vote.
Until 1971, states could bar women from practicing law.

In the US, docking dogs’ ears and tails is still legal.

In the 19th century and later, food was coloured with “Vermilion (containing mercury), red lead, white lead, verdigris (a copper salt), blue vitriol (containing copper), Sheele's green (containing copper and arsenic), lead chromate, orange chrome, and copper sulphate were all used to colour food before regulation put a stop to them. Vinegar contained sulphuric acid, pickles contained copper...” (Andrew Giddings) Never mind, once we’ve Brexited we can ignore these silly rules and poison ourselves with bright green food again!

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Inspirational Quotes: Relationships 100

You’ll be stronger on your own, you’ll find someone when you’re not looking, nobody says the word “spinster” any more. Or "bachelor"?

He married not for love, but because he knew the suits in Houston looked more kindly on husbands than bachelors. (Times review of an astronaut’s autobiography)

I checked into the squadron... CO’s wife goes “we can’t wait for your wife to get here to add some new blood to the wives' club.” “Um, I’m single.” I was dead to the command from then on. (@ManningDonald)

I was single while in command. Told the FRG I didn't really care what they did it as was their club. That didn't age well. (@DuffySends)

FRG stands for "Family Readiness Group," and it is the focal point of family readiness in the Army and the Navy. In the Air Force, it's known as the Key Spouse program; the Marine Corps has the Family Readiness Program; and the Coast Guard has the Work-Life Program. (

I found things had changed when I became widowed. I know I have changed, but I didn't expect to become a social leper.
“And then when a man on his own has passed his first youth there’s a lot he doesn’t get invited to. Eh, the world’s made for the marrieds. It’s taken a mortal time for all that to sink in in my case. I intend to do something about it when I get to Cape Town. I can’t do anything about being on my own, at least I won’t, but I can have had a wife in England now rather long dead.” (Kingsley Amis, Stanley and the Women)

He has recently told me that he is “embarrassed” by the fact that we are almost 35 and childless. (Writer-in to Dear Prudie at

One of the great stresses of modern life is competitive mate selection. Who will choose you as a partner? How many times must you face rejection? (

This is your yearly reminder that it is incredibly rude to ask a woman (especially a woman who is not your INTIMATE friend) any variation of any of the following:
*when she is gonna have kids
*when she is gonna get married
*why she is single
Thank you, have a civil 2018.


In my observation, “average” ppl who now have most success at finding permanent mates are often those who to some degree still have access to the “old” system of tight family/community connections filtering suitable partners their way. (@FormerlyFormer)

An unintended consequence of people waiting until late 20s to start "seriously dating" (i.e. with an eye towards family building) is no longer having school communities to work with. By that age, you're much more likely to have a relatively small group of friends and coworkers.

There are some problems that I don’t think can be improved by counseling or increased communication—differences on wanting children, for example, a lack of basic respect for someone else’s autonomy, extreme jealousy or controlling behavior, etc. (Danny Lavery, Dear Prudie,

The 5 Love Languages
1. Physical Touch
2. Words of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
4. Gift Giving
5. Acts of Service

(Brandon Melendez)
1. It's too hot to hold hands.
2. You know what I feel.
3. I'm seeing old friends – you wouldn't like them.
4. This token shows I’ve bought a toilet for an African village.
5. I won't patronise you by offering to help.

There's always some reason why I can't have what I want. (LJ)

The relationship between our parents is deteriorating more quickly since they started marriage counseling. It has given them an outlet to air grievances, but no tools to resolve issues or move forward. (Writer in to Dear Prudie. She adds that both say they are “victimized by the other’s inadequacy”.)

If your ex wants to talk to you about why you shouldn’t be angry, why he hasn’t done anything wrong, or why his new girlfriend is fantastic, then you should politely say, “I’m not available to talk about that,” and hang up the phone. (Danny Lavery, Dear Prudie)

When you find yourself saying things like “The reason my boyfriend never apologizes is because it’s his mother’s fault, and also he doesn’t have high enough self-esteem,” you have reached Critical Dumping Him Mass. (Danny Lavery, Dear Prudie)

She had ignored the signs that he was fabricating stories because, like so many other women, she was lonely, warm-hearted and wanted someone to love her. (Duped, Abby Ellin)

The only piece of advice my father really gave me was to always make sure you’d lined yourself up with the next boyfriend before you got rid of the one before. I’m not sure it is good advice – it’s the absolute definition of co-dependency – but I definitely followed it religiously. (Emily Mortimer)

Suppose being seule in London proved to be a hideous social handicap? Nearly everyone I knew was paired off... and I’d stick out like a bunion, or be left to rot... There’d be all that business of arranging for taxis, and getting lifts home from parties again. I’d quite forgotten that. (Alida Baxter, Flat on My Back)

My boyfriend and I have been dating for almost two years. For some, that might be “just waiting for the ring” territory, but we have never had conversations about moving in or marriage. I love my boyfriend, but we have reached a plateau, and it’s clear to me that this is not going to be a forever relationship. (Writer-in to Dear Prudie)

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing. (Psalm 68)

DTR is an acronym that means define the relationship. Used in chat and texting, it implies a critical point in a relationship in which one person wants clear answers from the other. (

My not having the same relationship, career, academic, or financial success is a reflection on my failures. (Writer-in to Dear Prudie)

Everyone wants a relationship. (Charlie Stait)

When someone can never admit they're wrong, it's hard to sustain a healthy relationship with them long-term. (

It takes so little for men and women to be turned on if their partner is kind, engaging, generous... buy a book you think might interest them. Or write a card and leave it for them when you go to work. (Times 2019-09-24)

When couples consider divorce, they don’t whoop with delight. They think about all the benefits of being married they would lose. From companionship and financial security to extended family and friendships. (Times Sept 2019)

I could not be content with less than your love and your children and our happy acknowledgement of each other to the world… you went out of your way to insist you would give me none of them. (Dorothy Sayers to John Cournos)

In most societies, biological parenthood is one of the most highly valued social statuses. (Robin Hadley)

Conversation, cooking, eating, listening to music, watching movies, cuddling and yes sex. (The joys of partnership, via Facebook)

As humans we all have psychological needs that we are driven to fulfil, be they companionship or safety, a sense of belonging or personal growth. And we often meet these needs through our relationships with others: they care for us, make us feel secure, and help us develop as individuals. (British Psychological Society Research Digest. They do?)

Has any research ever been done on what the majority of people really want out of life? You know the stuff that matters – a roof over your head, someone to love – the chance to live out your life in peace... (@Otto_English)

I am taking solace in knowing that right now people do not want to buy things or spend money, but instead are missing being together, hugging, loving, kissing, cuddling... human contact. (Sarah Parcak)

For the first three months of our relationship I felt supported, cared for, and like I finally had someone in my corner... I can’t escape from this desperate need to seek comfort and companionship from him and am constantly experiencing whiplash when it’s withdrawn. (Writer-in to Dear Prudie)

Humans live in a social world in which relative rank matters for nearly everything—your access to resources, your ability to attract mates, and even how long you live. From an evolutionary perspective, reproductively relevant resources flow to those high in status and trickle slowly, if at all, to those lower on the social totem pole. (David Buss, quoted in Psychology Today.)

The truth is that a woman doesn’t look on ANY man as a joke if he can kid her that he’s in love with her... Girls in these penniless middle-class families will marry anything in trousers, just to get away from home... After the frightful battle of getting her man to the altar, the woman kind of relaxes, and all her youth, looks, energy, and joy of life just vanish overnight.
(George Orwell, Coming Up for Air)

He tilted her face towards him, smiling into her eyes; she awaited, with contented passivity, the expected kiss... He tried the effect of a little ardour. (Mary Renault, The Friendly Young Ladies)

Do you have any idea what it means to a woman to go to prison? A woman only has a few of the golden years in her life when she’s attractive. Even at the best... she begins to fade after a few years. Think of what it means to a young, attractive woman to have the prison doors close on her and to realize that as she endures that treadmill existence her beauty is slipping through her fingers. (Erle Stanley Gardner)

If you have been thinking the best sort of thoughts it will not be difficult to let your conversation be worth listening to... He does not really admire the “smart” jokes and innuendoes which take away another person’s character... Young womanhood is a thing too lovely to be disfigured by a display of jewellery. The jingling beads, the lavish exhibition of rings or bracelets can never really adorn you. But that ancient adornment called “a meek and quiet spirit” will give beauty even to ordinary features, and will add loveliness to the most radiant face... Remember that this twilit hour is the hour when foolish jesting or a careless demeanour may make your knight forget his white armour. (Girls’ Own Annual, 1920. Take do’s for don’ts.)

Mrs Pell was a little sorry for Agnes. She had been a typist in the city for two years, yet nothing had happened. (Girls’ Own Annual, 1920)

If you’re looking to find love on a dating app, there’s plenty you need to think about: what to include in your bio, the interests you list, and what you say you’re looking for. (BPS Digest)

My decision to become a temp was less about the sleuthing than a need to widen the field of potential boyfriends en route to finding a husband, a strategy which paid off eventually. (Sarah Shaw, Short Skirts and Shorthand. She adds that girls didn’t fear being stuck behind a typewriter – they feared becoming a spinster.)

A woman left by her husband when she is 40 either faces living alone or has to break up someone else’s marriage. (Jilly Cooper, Supermen and Superwomen)

Apparently, even in your 40s, it’s necessary to have that “So, like, are you officially my girlfriend?” conversation that you had to have in 6th grade. (

The way to get married is to actually get to know someone and see if your interests and goals are compatible. (@DaeDaeSupreme)

Security, Attention, Control, Community, Intimacy, Status, Achievement, Privacy, Meaning, Purpose
(What everybody needs, according to the Human Givens Institute. It's a shame that the guy pushing the therapy deleted our conversation. He said if people had the above they wouldn’t compensate in destructive ways which were bad for society. And they wouldn’t need consumerism. He got offended when I suggested his vague definition of consumerism was judgemental. He also didn’t respond when I asked “Who is society?”, and whether our bottom line should always be “what’s best for society”. His solution was, of course, that people lacking the above should pay for his brand of therapy. He also didn’t take my hint that if it is bad for people to lack these “human givens”, and bad for society, society should provide the missing givens. Somehow this never seems to be the answer.)

More here, and links to the rest.

Monday 19 October 2020

Skeuomorphs and Fossils: Clothes 3


Skeuomorphs are objects based on earlier forms, sometimes made in a different material, or for another purpose. Sometimes earlier forms become fossilised.

The Scythians made jackets with narrow, useless sleeves that were just for decoration. These turn up in Hungarian military uniform until the 19th century.

Theatrical makeup stuck in the 50s. It was designed to make the features visible and the complexion look healthy under early stage lighting, we were told. At school we were made up for plays with tanned faces, red lips, black eye liner and blue eye shadow. Theatrical handbooks recommended outlining the nostrils with crimson, and putting rouge on the earlobes, under the lower lip, and under the chin. Opera singers looked like Kabuki or Kathakali actors, with ridiculous winged eye-liner at the top and bottom of the eye. When did all that go? (In films and TV of the 60s/70s, if a Caucasian actor played a Chinese man, he was given blue eyeshadow. In The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes – stories from the late 19th century – both women and men wear green eyeshadow.)

In the 50s, little girls’ wore party shoes in a style preserved from 1840s women’s slippers. They were flat, and had a rose or bow attached at the front. They even had the slightly square toes of the 1840s and earlier. The bow was a fossil in itself – they had a drawstring that you could tie in a bow to keep them on, like ballet slippers. This never worked, and ballet slippers (and sometimes party shoes) would have an elastic strap added over the instep, or else ribbons that you crossed several times round your ankles (and tied in a bow).

In the late 18th century women wore ludicrously big hair, but they still tied ribbons round it and balanced caps on top. There was a moment when they wore hats, but pinned to the front of the beehive so that the brim shaded their eyes. The hats were now vertical, but nobody thought this was silly.
I spotted something similar in the background in The Ipcress File (1966) – a woman with a headscarf worn vertically on the front of her beehive hairdo, with the point of the triangle in the air.

WWII ATS hats were a WWI design.

The Duchess of Sussex was seen wearing a trench dress with a gun flap. The original trench coat was designed for the trenches of WWI, and the gun flap creates a double layer of fabric where you rest the butt of your rifle.

1920s fashion was a cut-down version of the teens, just as teens fashion was a cut-down version of the 1900s, retaining a vestigial bustle and drooping blouse front. 1920s fashion also borrowed from underwear and children's clothes. Bobbed hair was originally worn by children – see Christopher Robin. Some mid-20s evening dresses sported tiny cubist “trains”.

The triangular head scarf tied under the chin, originally featured in Vogue as an exotic accessory, was so useful and soon became so familiar that it was a negative status indicator. (Alison Lurie)

Court dress continued unchanged for most of the 18th century, with women forced to wear the court mantua with huge panniers, a fossilised version of a 50-year-old fashion. Panniers were eventually laughed off the stage, but court dress continued to preserve archaic features. Debutantes in the 50s wore white ball dresses and opera gloves to be presented to the Queen – at teatime. (She put an end to the ceremony.)

Raine Spencer was brought up to be a debutante, and with her bouffant hairstyle, swirling chiffons, pearls and perfect grooming, always retained something of the style fashionable in her youth. (Times) Her hairstyle became fossilised in the early 60s: a very back-combed version of her earlier style. Her mother, Barbara Cartland, froze her look around the year 1935: hat, curls, mask-like make-up. She kept her 30s eyebrows, as did Edith Piaf, Fanny Cradock and Margaret Leighton.

Girls still get the Louise Brooks “helmet” bob (pictured) even though the cloche hats that made it fashionable have long since disappeared.

Speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd ditched the full-bottomed wig and wore a skirt, and nobody has readopted the headgear since. Her successor John Bercow swapped knee-breeches for trousers. Some parliamentary roles are now taken by women – who wear 18th century male dress.

Anello and Davide character shoes were unchanged from the 1920s to the 1970s.

Why did silent film directors and chauffeurs wear jodhpurs? (The riding breeches were a tailored version of Indian baggy trousers.)

And when did hotel staff stop wearing quasi-military uniforms with pillbox hats?

Nurses' caps became vestigial, then disappeared.

Dressage riders wear a fake bun in a net – a miniature form of the 1860s chignon.

Scottish dancing shoes are a formalised version of the Celtic pampootie (a 5,000-year-old design).

Insoles are still modelled on early 1960s winklepicker shoes.

Mrs Lycett ... wearing two little strips of lace on her hair to represent a cap.
(Mrs Craddock, Somerset Maugham)

Have bishops' mitres shrunk? Will they eventually disappear? And will vicars drop the chasuble?

Clerical collars
were just one variety of stand-up starched collar – now the only one left. (Or do lawyers wear them?)

used to wear wigs and large white muslin sleeves (the “bishop sleeves” of the 1840s and 50s). They were given permission to ditch the wigs in 1830. Archbishop Howley was the last Archbishop of Canterbury to wear one, and he died in 1848. Martin Routh, 1755-1854, President of Magdalen College, Oxford from 1791 until his death, was the last man in Oxford to wear a wig. When will barristers catch up? In 2008, judges dropped wigs for civil cases and adopted a new gown without a wing collar.

Archbishops carried on wearing a top hat with streamers, a purple cassock with an “apron”, and gaiters into the 1960s. Michael Ramsay wore a cassock, and subsequently archbishops have worn business suits.

Why did footmen go on wearing 18th century dress, including powdered wigs? When did they stop?

Musicians and magicians
traditionally wore evening dress – this made sense when the audience were all in evening dress too. Musicians are slow to change: orchestras and choirs allowed women to wear trousers about 30 years after they became everyday wear at work and play. In the late 60s, women in “trouser suits” were chucked out of restaurants. One woman in a frock coat just took her trousers off and was admitted.

City types dropped their bowler hats in the early 70s, and teachers shed their mortarboards and gowns.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown used to turn up at banquets in a business suit. Be like Gordon.

More here.

Saturday 17 October 2020

Inspirational Quotes 99

One person’s “fun joke” is often another person’s “painful jab”.
(Danny Lavery)

The only thing worse than a prankster is a prankster who thinks he's doing some kind of important social experiment. (@EddieRobson)

It's funny how it's so often the oppressor rather than the oppressed that thinks things should remain the same. (@MrOzAtheist)

Scientific evidence can be threatening when it challenges an important belief. It makes you feel anxious, upset, and/or embarrassed. It makes you question your own intelligence, moral standing, and group alliances… anything that draws the ingroup-outgroup line in the sand is likely to lead to defensive resistance if it appears that the science or its source is the outgroup. (BPS Research Digest)

“You never know.” “No; but generally one can make a shrewd guess.” (Murder Must Advertise, Dorothy L. Sayers)

Migrants can see virtues in their country of adoption that natives have either taken for granted or forgotten, and new arrivals can be enthusiastic about customs, ceremonies and habits that the born and bred feel faintly embarrassed by. (Michael Gove)

We thought that humans were invincible, that as we evolved we were crowding out every possible competitor and that the story was a simple one, where you have a lineage become aggressively more humanlike with bigger and bigger brains and more sophisticated behaviour. (Prof John Hawks)

Increase in cringe humor in modern television is related to the increasing prevalence of behavioral and psychological disorders in society. (@pomofoco, 2017)

How smart people think you are is just as important as how smart you actually are. (

This is what Aristotle, talking about rhetoric, called ethos, or the question of how your audience sees you. And the best way for them to see you is either as one of them, or someone on their side.
(Sam Leith)

Encourage your children to get involved in lots of activities – sport, dance – and keep busy. (BBC Breakfast vox pop)

If you think historical TV dramas are about the realities of the past, and not about what we care about now, you are in for quite a shock. (@greg_jenner)

He, early sensing that she was impervious to his charm, wasted no more of it upon her. (Falling, Elizabeth Jane Howard)

This entire idea, that hard work will set you free, goes back to Plato - who proposed it as a lie we tell those whose labour is exploited. (Via Facebook)

Since I've followed James Wong I've had to rethink many of my beliefs/principles. That's what Twitter is great for. Educating. Challenging. (@ConsultantMicro)

Sometimes we like to think of ourselves as someone who might just move to Ireland tomorrow, or become a professional kickboxing announcer, or whatever, and realizing that life does not contain infinite possibilities and choices is always an ego-bruiser. (Danny Lavery)

 It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man finishing a statement with 'fact' will be talking unconscionable tripe. (@jk_rowling)

What we say when we are angry is reflective of what we think when we are not. (@absurdistwords)

People going on about "positive attitude" like I'm one of those awful hippy shops with dreamcatchers and posters of dolphins. (Ian Dunt)

I always raise an eyebrow when the occult becomes 'popular', which it does every few years. (Liz Williams)

Since Freud’s death in 1939 a growing number of dissenting voices have questioned his legacy and distanced themselves from his ideas. (Guardian, 2017)

“Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand” focuses on the empowerment of the individual, rather than the collective… In the spiritual business world, I’ve seen FLEB perpetuated by white women entrepreneurs who devote themselves to doing deep spiritual work for themselves and their clients, and yet remain absolutely silent on anything to do with politics and justice. (

There’d always seemed to me to be something so dirty-sweatered and dirndl-skirted about living with a man you’re not married to. (Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado)

I remember a time when church leaders tut-tutted over the decline in Christian belief and church attendance, telling us that, if it continued, there would inevitably be a huge increase in crime. The decline in belief and church attendance has continued apace, but crime...? Well, actually, that's declined too. Oooops! (WS)

More here, and links to the rest.

Friday 16 October 2020

Jobs You Never Knew Existed: In Quotes 3

Retrain for a job in "cyber"? Why not pick something more imaginative.

Facebook trainer showing people what the three grey dots do and how to turn their family into a group/list etc.

Teacher of reading to children who are being “taught” by the “whole language” method, and think they just “can’t read” because they’ve never been shown how.

MS Word tutor for those who are still afraid to cut and paste. Explain gently that it works for Facebook too.

Give Search lessons
to people who are still scrolling through PDFs and web pages (on a shared Zoom screen). Get them to look at menus and learn keyboard shortcuts.

Zoom tutor

I liked the idea of being a freelance religion designer.
(Neil Gaiman)

Influencers command giant social media followings and get paid large sums for speaking engagements, collaborations, brand spokesperson jobs, product placements in their videos... How did he go from YouTube to book deals, music albums, a coffee company and now a clothing line? (

A cottage industry has sprung up on the internet, SELLING phony IDs and vests for fake “service animals” in the States.
(Via Marcia Kelly Illingworth)

My ex was an artist for Flight Sim (both planes and trees and that) and I drove around loads of cities photographing buildings for modelling them at home.

I learn that Benfica employ an eagle-wrangler to kill/scare off the pigeons in their stadium, and I wonder how one becomes an eagle-wrangler for a leading European football team, because it sounds a fun career. (@holland_tom)

Vanguard tackled many different styles and subjects—landscapes, bullfighters, supercute or sad children, boats at sea, flowers, architecture, still lifes, romantic images of old Europe, and more—very well, with the representative pieces often mirroring the illustrative style of the day. Lee Reynolds Burr painted original works that were then copied by his crew of artists, but as business grew, he hired Americana painter Harry Wysocki as Vanguard’s chief designer and employed Argentine artist Aldo Luongo to contribute designs. Burr periodically traveled to Europe (where he hung out with Salvador Dali) to buy paintings at auctions that he could then replicate at his LA studio for mass consumption.

YA Novelist Kosoko Jackson is black and gay, and a professional sensitivity reader, which means he reads books before publication and offers advice on how they handle matters of identity. Seconds (film and book by David Ely) “portrays a sinister organisation that gives jaded middle-aged businessmen the opportunity to fake their death and invent a new life for themselves". (Times Jan 2019)

Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were given assistants who would advise, mandate, and report back to the studio on every aspect of their behaviour. Rooney was fully aware of his studio-appointed "friend's" real purpose. Garland, sadly, was clueless. When she discovered her long-time confidante was a secret nanny-spy, she was devastated. (

Joylina Goodings is a spiritual life coach, angel expert, speaker, workshop leader, writer, author of Your Angel Journey and President of BAPS.

More here, and links to the rest.

Updated and expanded list in a mini-ebook here. 
(More comprehensive than the government's.)

Sunday 11 October 2020

Received Ideas: Things that Never Happened

Things That Never Happened are sometimes first-person, sometimes "foaflore" – they happened to a Friend Of A Friend. People copy and paste them to their Facebook pages, and get quite huffy if you cast doubt on their authenticity. They tend to start "I was sitting in a coffee-shop..." or "I was standing at the checkout..." and "I overheard..." They're often over-written and over-burdened with details none of which are the name of the participants, the supermarket, or the town. Like many urban legends, they may contain revolting details and swear words: this garners them more likes and reposts.

Jesus used to tell stories like these: the Good Samaritan, the Poor Man and the Pharisee, the Camel and the Eye of the Needle. They were probably old when he passed them on. The Samaritans, 2,000 years ago, were a neighbouring tribe mistrusted by the Israelites. In modern versions, too, the Helper is someone unlikely, such as a black man who stops when you have a flat during a rainstorm. Your first fear is that he's going to mug you - but he helps you change the wheel, and later you discover he is a famous singer/footballer.

In one very circumstantial story a ditzy Little Old Lady comes into a book/art store and, while buying chocolate and art materials, pays for a poor student's textbooks. The shop assistant asks why? She points to a drug addict begging outside and says: "That's how my son turned out. I don't want this boy to go the same way." In this case the teller of the tale (the assistant) gave her name, and claimed she'd posted it on Facebook. There's someone on FB of that name, but she looks very different (this story had a picture attached). The shop and town were not named, neither were the witnesses, nor the poor student. And what kind of shop sells chocolate, art supplies and expensive, niche textbooks?

I questioned this story and was asked "Don't you believe such things can happen?", and told "Yes, but it sends an important message!", also "Yes, but it's a good story!" Can't we send important messages without lying?

My children thought an LP was a frisbee. I showed them a dial phone – they prodded the buttons and said “It’s broken”. (Letter to The Times, paraphrase)

Today I was in a shoe store that sells only shoes, nothing else. A young girl with green hair walked over to me and asked, "What brings you in today? I looked at her and said, "I'm interested in buying a refrigerator." She didn't quite know how to respond, had that deer in the headlights look. (Copypasta from FB)

I tend to hold Withernsea in my mind when I hear spoiled 21st-century children talking about their all-expenses paid holidays abroad with mummy and daddy, as if such things were a human right. (Guardian July 2020. This belongs to the genre: "I saw a child fling himself onto the pavement and have a tantrum because his gloves didn't match".)

Janet Street-Porter claimed she got a spontaneous round of applause in the street for telling someone begging to get a job. Yeah, sure Janet. (@geezerbrown. "And I handed them back their litter and said 'I think you dropped something'.")

I know I shouldn’t have done this, but I am 83 years old and I was in the McDonald’s drive-through this morning and the young lady behind me leaned on her horn and started mouthing something because I was taking too long to place my order. So when I got to the first window I paid for her order along with my own. The cashier must have told her what I'd done, because as we moved up she leaned out her window and waved to me and mouthed "Thank you", obviously embarrassed that I had repaid her rudeness with a kindness. When I got to the second window I showed them both receipts and took her food too. Now she has to go back to the end of the queue and start all over again. Don't blow your horn at old people, they have been around a long time. (Via FB.)

This is copied and pasted from a friend's page. He really did this! I'm so proud to call him friend!
"Well my inner a**hole just came out today in public, in and among the Mundanes/Muggles today. I was being the good citizen and wearing my cloth mask in public. As I was trying to exit a national brand grocery chain, a lady, unmasked BTW, was trying to go in through the out door. She was stopped by the door checker and told this is an exit only, she had to go to the other door to enter. (They have a cue thing set up.) She WENT OFF! I guess because I was blocking the way and had a mask on she thought I would make a good target for her. She got right in my face and said that mask won't protect you. The grin formed on my face under the mask and the little devil on my left shoulder said "Do It!". The angel on my right said "WAIT, I need popcorn." I took off my mask still in her face and said: "Since you don't really give a ****, I am wearing it to protect YOU. I have been exposed to the virus and tested positive. Now you are." She screamed, covered her face and ran to her car cussing me. I turned to the door checker and said "I was BSing her. I don't have it.” She was in tears laughing. Hey, she started it."
(The poster says, "Hey, I know this guy!" Again, no name of store, town, storyteller, witness. The guy you know copied and pasted and claimed it happened to him. "In tears" is a red flag.)

About 6 weeks ago I was fortunate to have an Immunologist behind me in line at the grocery store. He explained to me that not only do these masked people look like ridiculous sheep, the masks they are wearing do almost no good. He told the manager as well. (ConservatIveSoCalGal @DebraJarvis2)

We were once told at work that we couldn’t ask for black or white coffee but rather coffee with milk and without. Our response was to drink more coffee and have it either black or white. The thought police gave up after a couple of weeks. We have to fight back against these loons.
(@PattyUKGB. @Otto_English replies: “No you weren’t. You’re welcome.”)

I was just in line at the gas station to get some gas minding my own business. It was this young lady in front of me taking forever. I overheard the cashier tell her that both of the cards were declined. She said, 'Is something wrong with your machine?' She turned around to walk away and I had a smile on my face. She said to me, 'Why are you f**king smiling?' I said to her 'Watch your mouth; I always smile and you should too.' I looked at the cashier and said, 'What pump number is she on?' He said, 'Pump number two, why?' I said, 'Can I put $20 on pump number two for her?' He said, 'Are you serious she was very rude to you.' It was another black guy behind me he said go ahead and fill it up. We both went half on her gas. When we walked outside to tell her about the gas this lady apologized so many times, crying her eyes out. She went inside her truck to show us her new hire paperwork. She started work on Monday so she needed gas for the week until she gets paid. Lord thank you for reminding me of all the reasons why I should keep a smile on my face. That goes to show you we never know what a person is going through and we all have a purpose on this Earth! (Bryan Brown on, 2015)

Older white woman asked the not-white teen cashier if he's originally from here. Kid replies "No, my parents fled our homeland looking for better opportunities." Woman asks "Where did they come from?" Kid says: "Truro."


Se non e vero, e ben trovato.

More here, and links to the rest.

Grammar: Excuse the Pun 3

If you want to look like an amateur, sprinkle your prose with "Excuse the pun!", especially after non-puns.
These are puns:
Be shore of yourself
Come out of your shell
Take time to coast
Avoid pier pressure
Sea life’s beauty
Don’t get tide down
Make waves!

And so are these:
A bra manufacturer has gone bust, a shipping company has gone under, a kitchen appliance maker has gone into liquidation, a kennels has called in the retrievers and a paper company has folded. The florist is pruning its business and the plumbers have gone down the drain. (The Two Ronnies – probably written by Gerald Wiley, aka Ronnie Barker. Or are they over-appropriate metaphors?)

A map showing whale populations declining is captioned “cetacean needed”.

But these aren't:
Within a space of 3 days I've had to replace tyres as 4 long nails miraculously inserted themselves, this morning car was broken into contents thrown all over the place and my coin collection taken. I slowly feel the joy being sucked out of me, pardon the pun. (@JoyTendai. Metaphor, not a pun.)

It was in 1772 when the Pale (not a color, pun intended) of Settlement rule was enacted. (Michael Elgort @just_whatever, in the context of Jews being allegedly white and privileged. "Pale" here means "border", or "enclosed area" and what else could you call it?)

Am getting a bit fed up (pun hahaha) because veganism is fine if you want to but cannot be a solution for everyone. (Via FB If you think puns should be avoided, change to “Am getting a bit weary/tired/annoyed/irritated...”, or start with “Veganism is fine but...” But maybe avoid “cheesed off”.)

Johnson says ‘good chance’ of EU trade deal with ‘a bit of oomph’. (@GaryGibbonBlog)
I can't wait till he suffocates in his own puns. (@WhenIsBirths)
(Slang, not a pun.)

Just as mothers differ in many ways, so can their journey to motherhood. Some women have a plan, and this plan involves marriage, the purchase of a home, a discussion about having children. Then comes conception if you pardon the pun. (FB meme No pun, not even a metaphor unless you mean that “conception” can also mean “having a thought or idea”.)

The investigators seem to get distracted from the murder inquiry by the injection (no pun intended – well, maybe a little bit intended) of a drug-smuggling sub-plot. ( Too-appropriate metaphor. If you're worried about it, change to "introduction".)

Reality always trumps "alternative facts", pun intended: Two more Drumpf campaign staff test positive for COVID after attending Tulsa "rally". (Via FB. It can be awkward using the word "trump" in the context of America's president.)

Ngaio Marsh, with her experience in theatre, sets the stage well (no pun intended), and keeps the reader guessing. (FB on Marsh’s Vintage Murder. Too-appropriate metaphor. How about: "Marsh uses her experience in theatre to create a convincing backstage atmosphere and keep the reader guessing.")

His disability also helps [blind detective] Laing getting to the truth as it prevents him from being fooled by appearances that blind – no pun intended – other people to it. ( How about "appearances that mislead others"?)

This funeral parlour has survived (pun intended) the last 50 years effortlessly. (@SOSBrutalism. Unfortunate metaphor?)

Moving on, Owen Hatherley picks out the London Underground, which itself was no innocent in selling nostalgia with its there-will-always-be-an-Engerland posters advertising “Golders Green: a place of delightful prospects” or “Live in a new neighbourhood – Dollis Hill” with suburban satisfaction only a Tube ride away. Many pages are devoted to the Tube stations... At this point I lost the thread of his main argument but cared not at all as modernism, constructivism and other such “isms” whizzed along. Hatherley mentions in passing that the foremost Tube station designer, Frank Pick (excuse my laboured pun in the first sentence of this paragraph), advised on the Moscow Metro and picked up an Order of Lenin for his troubles.
( I had to look hard for anything resembling a pun – oh, "picks out", when the man behind the Tube's distinctive design was called "Pick".)

The Back to the Future movies are timeless – pun intended! (

More here, and links to the rest.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Loopy Logic 6: What to Say When You're Losing the Argument

It's an emergent property.
The map is not the territory.
I’m sick of all this hysteria.

Sometimes the logical way isn't the best way.
Absence of evidence isn’t evidence of absence.
When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Deal with it.
Get over it.
Let's agree to differ.

Can't we have a civilised discussion about this?
I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.
Why should I do your research for you?
Won’t you even admit that there might be something in astrology? (80s.)

We can never actually KNOW anything.
There are lies, damn lies and statistics.
Define "fact"! Define "proof"! Define "evidence"! What is "rape", anyway?
Why must you get so angry about everything?

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must keep silent.
(Ludwig Wittgenstein)
I just wanted to provoke a reaction!
I just wanted to practice debating!

Haven’t you heard of Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle? (80s)
There’s no such thing as reality. (Popular late 70s, early 80s.)

Truth is just perception.
The truth is always somewhere in the middle.
There is no such thing as truth.
There are many truths.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio… (William Shakespeare)
The truth is seldom pure and never simple.
(Oscar Wilde)

You are taking this much too seriously.
I was asked to be controversial!
There isn't a debate so don't let's argue.
It’s true in a wider sense.

There’s no point in continuing this conversation.
Anyone can edit Wikipedia, therefore you can’t trust any of it.
That’s a very complex question.
People do X for many reasons.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. (Popular in the 80s, completely meaningless.)
You're provoking abuse by answering back.
Can we stop this childish squabble?
We should come together and find common ground.

Yes, but my point holds! (Gustave Flaubert, Dictionnaire des Idées Reçues)

(distort or exaggerate your opponent's argument)
Move the goalposts
(redefine your terminology)
Tu quoque
("You're attacking me by accusing me of attacking you!")

Personal attack: Throw in a snide reference to your opponents being “smug and pompous” and “thinking they are better than the rest of us”.

Narrow redefinition: Redefine words like "servant" or "class" so that you can prove both have disappeared.

If you’re a right-winger arguing with a lefty, accuse your opponent of hypocrisy.

Swiftly remove the discussion from real situations in the real world and spout a lot of airy fairy nonsense about epistemology.

Using the Socratic method, “prove” that your opponent is contradicting themselves, or saying the opposite of what they mean, or has just admitted that everything they say is wrong, or has done what they accuse you of doing.

Pretend you don’t know the meaning of a very common word, or that it has no meaning.

People spiting logic to prove UP is Down and vice versa. (Via Twitter)

Someone has got the wrong end of a stick and won't let go.

"It's more subtle and nuanced than a mere black/white truth/lies opposition."

When your only defence is ‘What about...’ then you’re in trouble. (@MichaeljMcVey)

Keeping to strict facts all the time makes for rather boring conversation. (MJ)

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds ... With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. (Ralph Waldo Emerson. But he meant it was OK to change your mind, not that it’s OK to hold a self-contradictory worldview.)

The idea that there is no objective truth or that we shouldn't bother trying to find it is just an excuse used by people who don't want have their opinion changed by facts... I believe there is still an underlying truth even if we can't find it. (Christina Rees)

A little pet hate from me. I find it really, really hard to ‘agree to disagree’. If I disagree with something, I disagree with it. If it’s abominable, I can’t ‘let it pass’. And no, I’m not sorry about that. (@PaulbernalUK)

"Time to move on" is inevitably said by people who are not great fans of close scrutiny. (@andraswf)

“Time to move on” is the new “Let’s get Brexit done”. (Beverley Clack)

More here, and links to the rest.

Thursday 1 October 2020

Loopy Logic 5

We don’t need to make this pedestrianised shopping street disabled-friendly – it’s for everyone.
We don't cater gay weddings. We serve everyone.

Mayflies live for a day. (As larvae, they live for about three years – then emerge from the water and live for a day.)

Whales have breeding grounds, and feeding grounds – but they live in the sea!

One part of the reason is: one reason is (It's better to have many reasons than one reason divided into parts.)

It’s always in the last place you look!

I could care less.

set in stone (You set things in concrete, and carve them into stone.)

Temperatures approached 30C.
(Temperatures reached 28C.)

Marketing bull that irritates me "An almost infinite number of possibilities". So not infinite in any way at all, but entirely finite. Grrr! (@MrBLawton)

PM makes 360deg rotation on cigarette packaging. (You mean 180 degree – 360 degrees takes you back to where you started.)

priceless (The price is very very high.)

an empty bottle of brandy: an empty brandy bottle

Uprooting themselves and moving to the other side of the world would be the toughest decision they’d ever have to make: It would be the toughest thing they’d ever have to DO, if they decided to do it.

"The time is rapidly approaching..." No, it's not. Time passes at the same pace.
Except at the edge of a black hole. (@FastMacsTweet)

It has come to the point where its now almost impossible to turn the clock back. (Eric Pickles, 2013)

The future is already here.

And if our lives are more "fast-paced" than ever before, surely we have more free time, not less?

including the likes of X, Y and Z ("Including X, Y and Z" is meant, not people like them.)

flammable and inflammable
mean the same, likewise boned and deboned.

There's more than one consensus! (Brexiteer)

The wine won hefty plaudits. (A plaudit could be warm, or loud – but hefty?)

15 photos that will convince you that Iceland belongs on another planet.

I think she wore some disguise – such as one of her trademark silk scarves – while driving, so that she would not be recognised. (The Queen’s dog trainer Roger Mugford)

I'm undecided because I don't know enough about it but I will be voting 'out'. (BBC news vox pop)

If he was alive today he’d turn in his grave!

Surely your enemy's enemy is, er, you? (@lucyfishwife)

Gold standard dross. (Gillian Darley Dross is what’s left over after gold is refined.)

This very comfortable hideaway is located in a sunny undiscovered quiet Mews.

Norwich: twinned with Rouen, Koblenz and Novi Sad (Quintupleted?)

Fillet of a fenny snake/In the cauldron boil and bake. (If you’re going to boil it, you can’t bake it at the same time.)

It would right an equality imbalance.
(BBC on women in the theatre. Equality would mean 50% men, 50% women.)

Gays have enough equality! (Said some bishop.)

Indian giver (It was the British who gave and then took back from the Native Americans.)

Ouija boards: oui-nein boards (Both "oui" and "ja" mean "yes", in French and German.)

2001 was groundbreaking, wasn’t it? Yes – at the time! (BBC Breakfast)

Chinese house prices shrinking. (Numbers can only rise or fall.)

monolithic concrete (Concrete is concrete, not stone – lithos in Greek.)

He is one of the only thespians on the planet who possesses a PhD
. (yahoo news. One of the few.)

Ken should fall on his sword and walk. (Andrew Dismore)
You rush to the door, frozen in horror.

three-week anniversary

You could hear a pin drop! (You an only hear a pin land.)

How can there be self-help groups? (LC. They're mutual-help groups.)

We’d like to introduce our children to a global world. (Head teacher on BBC Breakfast)

Next we'll be hearing about how the average Homo Erectus IQ was 150.
(The average IQ of a population is always 100. From a Web discussion about Neanderthals – don’t go there.)

fully lined, fully fashioned, fully licensed

I pay someone to come and do my DIY for me. (Nick Knowles)

deceptively spacious: more spacious than it appears at first sight
deceptively deep: deeper than expected – deceptively shallow

You really need to think about reinstalling some original features.
(Lucy Alexander on Homes under the Hammer, June 2012)

The experiment has failed! (It didn’t produce the results we wanted.)

World records won’t be broken, they’ll be shattered into a million pieces. (You can’t do more to a world record than break it.)

More here, and links to the rest.