Ick. Really: Ick.

Jul 292003

Will was right: This article on wannabe amputees is disturbing. But it’s not merely voyeurism, as it includes some insightful commentary on fads in mental illness.

The Fence

Jul 292003

Jay Nordlinger on The Fence:

A word — a too-breezy word — on the Middle East. The president, and a lot of other people, object to the fence that Israel proposes to construct along the West Bank. They don’t care about the fence along Gaza — because that’s already there (and effective). They care only about this new one.

They care because a fence is icky, psychologically. Its symbolism is terrible. “Can’t we all just get along?” (The answer is no.) These critics love to compare this fence to the Berlin Wall. “Tear down this wall!” Ha, ha, ha. Never mind that the Communists threw up their wall to keep their subjects in, and that the Israelis want to construct a fence to keep killers of their citizens out. Elementary logic does not apply when we’re emoting and posing.

President Bush said, “It’s very difficult to develop confidence between the Palestinians and Israel with a wall snaking through the West Bank.” Yeah, well, it’s very difficult to develop confidence when, day after day, terrorists come in to murder you. Look, the aim isn’t to join hands like hippies in a Coke commercial, singing about love. The aim is to achieve a kind of peace, or a lack of war and murder. We must keep things modest here (speaking of realism) — such a peace, cold and hard, not warm and fuzzy, would be achievement enough.

The fence is one of the most innocuous defenses the Israelis could devise. In fact, it’s sort of a test of intolerance of Israel: You don’t like it when the Israelis undertake retaliatory raids; you don’t like it when they carry out “targeted killings”; you don’t like it when they bulldoze the homes of terrorists; you don’t like the myriad other methods the Israelis employ. Well, how about a fence? You object to that, too? Okay: Is there anything the Israelis might do, to protect their citizens, that would be kosher by you? No? I guess the Israelis just have to fold their tents and go home.

But where’s home?

Perhaps in the sea. Or underground. Or in hell. But certainly not anywhere on earth. Oh, those Jews were just so much more noble and good when they were suffering and dying under Hilter. But now, they fight back and (horrors!) kick ass, despite one hand tied behind their back by the U.S. They’re just not altruist chic anymore, you know.


One Solution For All Horse Problems

Jul 292003

Dear Horse Owner:

Are you experiencing too many second and third finishes behind inferior horses at horse shows? During a trail ride, does your horse forget everything he was bred to do?

Well, this simple chain letter is meant to bring relief and happiness to you. Unlike most chain letters, it doesn’t cost any money.

Simply send a copy to six other horse owners who are dissatisfied with the way that their horse is behaving. Also, bundle up your horse and send him/her to the horse owner at the top of list, and add your name to the bottom of the list. Do not use a return address or the post office may try to contact you.

In one week you should receive 16,436 horses, and at least one of them should be a keeper.

Have faith in this. Do not break the chain. One owner broke the chain and got his own horse back.

Good luck!

I’m Baaaack!

Jul 282003

Well, I’ve finally returned from my month-long excursion. It started with the TOC Advanced and Summer Seminars (10 days in Boston), then moved to the ARI’s OCON (12 days in Los Angeles), and then finally to Camp Indecon (7 days in Woodland Park).

Camp Indecon was — by far — the most fun and the most important work of the month. I taught my curriculum (described here) to the 17 year olds. The lessons were very interactive (through discussion and exercises), which made teaching them far more fun and far less stressful than my more formal Objectivism 101 lectures at TOC. More importantly, my campers were smart, eager, focused, and all-around good people. I’m so pleased to have gotten to know them better over the course of the week.

But camp wasn’t wholly intellectual, as I also had a great time rock climbing, traversing a high ropes course, and white water rafting with my campers. (Yes, yes, I too built my independence and my confidence!) And time spent with the other instructors was a blast.

As much as I want to rave about Camp Indecon, I should at least mention that the comparison of the TOC and ARI conferences was very revealing — and in unexpected ways. I have my comments on the two conferences almost finished… I’ll be posting them later this week.

In August, I’ll be working on my essay on self-deception and positive illusions for the forthcoming Harry Potter and Philosophy anthology. But for the moment, I’m very happy to be taking a few days off.

Update: Due to serious philosophic and moral objections, I am no longer associated with The Objectivist Center in any way, shape, or form. My reasons why can be found on my web page on The Many False Friends of Objectivism.

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