Thursday, October 25, 2007

Next year's Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine?

It is a wonder that researchers get away with such twaddle as this gem from Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics (I thought that the LSE was supposed to be reputable???).
What is even more remarkable is that the BBC chose to report on it. Dr. Curry claims that the human race will split into two - one part will be tall handsome and intelligent the other squat and dumb. Especially interesting is his observation that:

Women, on the other hand, will develop lighter, smooth, hairless skin, large clear eyes, pert breasts, glossy hair, and even features, he adds.

Sounds like the kind of fantasies I used to have when I was 14. ANYWAY...
The article goes on to say that:

Dr Curry warns, in 10,000 years time humans may have paid a genetic price for relying on technology.

This is the key. The BBC is part of the anti-technology Gucci Socialist/Environmentalist clique and anything that suggests that:
  • Technology and innovation is leading to our downfall

  • We should return to a simpler state (read living in jungles, praying to stone idols and dying of preventable diseases)

will get some airing on the BBC. Sad thing is that this sort of rubbish isn't even original.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And the winner is...

The winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize is Anne Enright for The Gathering. Congratulations Ms. Enright.

Now I must be off to write my magnum opus. It will be a bleak story about a heroin addict from a dysfunctional family who joins a fundamentalist faction and is prompted to write about her sad past when her father and mother, two brothers and dog commit suicide. Unfortunately her writing is interrupted by her abusive husband and she is then confined to a wheelchair. Then an evil capitalist bastard comes and buys the apartment block in East London where she lives and she becomes homeless as well. Things come to a head when she straps some explosives to herself and kills herself and the evil capitalist bastard. Of course this work abounds with religious allusions and symbolism. She is the modern Christ struggling against the hegemonic twin powers of capitalism and modernity and...

Dostoyevsky, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

La Passionata

In a passionate defense of capitalism in the form of Howard Roark (the hero from Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead), columnist Joseph Kellard contrasts the anti-life ethics of religion against the pro-life ethics of capitalism. You can read it here.

Adam Smith wrote:
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages.

It is from self-love that we can afford to be pro-life. If one lives for others then there can be no love of life because one does not live for the most important life of all - one's own. Capitalism's miracle is that through self interest, society as a whole progresses.

Booker Prize Short-list announced

The Man Booker Prize shortlist has been announced. The key contenders this year are:
  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)
    • A depressing story about a dysfunctional family haunted by Edward IV's court jester.
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)
    • A depressing story about a dysfunctional family from the eyes of a woman whose brother just committed suicide.
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)
    • A depressing story about a "well adjusted" Muslim who is drawn to fundamentalist Islam after 9/11. Basically an anti-American diatribe.
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)
    • A depressing story about a girl on a war-torn Island who escapes by reading Dicken's Great Expectations
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)
    • A depressing story about a couple's first time after getting married.
  • Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)
    • I haven't read this one. Don't plan to. But reading the plot synopsis, it also sounds like "A depressing story about...".
Aside from Animal's People of which I know little, the other books are bleak and, quite honestly, dull. I don't mind bleakness in a book but it seems that literary merit in today's fiction equates to bleakness at least as far as the Man Booker prize is concerned. Absent from all of these novels is a sense of the wonder that it is to be human.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The triumph of folly

Al Gore wins the Nobel Peace prize. Well he joins such luminaries as Wangari Maathai who believes that HIV/AIDS is a part of an evil Western conspiracy to kill blacks, the late Yasser Arafat, the ethically challenged former leader of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Le Duc Tho (who in fairness turned down the prize) the unpleasant former leader of Vietnam. Aside from the obvious question about what the making of a movie has to do with peace, there are also the questions about the validity of the claims of anthropogenic climate change and whether we should even do anything about it.

Al Gore winning an Academy Award is more appropriate as it is given by an institution more at home with fiction and certainly Al Gore is not above the use of fiction to further his agenda.

Congratulations Mr. Gore, you have proven once again what a hollow shell the Nobel Peace Prize is.