Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Beware of woodchucks

Greetings, after an absence due to being out of town and not taking my computer with me.

Jewish date: 21 ’Av 5769.

Worthy cause of the day: “Tell Congress: No more unnecessary antibiotics for livestock”, “Threats to Humanitarian Aid in Sudan”, and “Tell Your Senators Why America Needs a Strong Climate Bill”.

Relevant to Divine Misconceptions:
  1. On Sunday I saw the first episode of the “reality show” There Goes the Neighborhood. (It was not my idea.) I was morally offended by the promos (as I am offended by promos for “reality shows” in general), and the actual show itself confirmed my suspicions that the producers are morally impared. The idea of the show is to seal off eight families from the rest of the world by (literally) building a wall around a neighborhood and pit each family against the rest in the hopes of winning $250,000 in the end. My complaints about the show, based on the episode I actually saw, in no particular order are:
    • I wondered whether they would kick people out of their own homes, analogous to voting someone off the island. Indeed, they actually did this. This cannot be anything other than a major inconvenience for whoever is voted out.
    • People are pitted against each other for the audience’s entertainment. This is not even friendly, respectful competition, since a large amount of money is at stake and cooperation with other families in the long-term is not an option. The show is structured so as to foster paranoia, suspicion, and politics (in a very negative sense of the word). Whoever designed this show is trying to force the worst of human nature to the surface for no good reason.
    • People are encouraged to air in public thoughts and aspects of their lives better kept private.
    • The challenge the producers set up for the families was basically an excuse for a wet T-shirt contest. (I cannot make this up.)
    • What will be the long-term consequences on the neighborhood? People can apologize for the backstabbing and badmouthing that this show creates, but even under the best of circumstances the effects will likely linger. Unless the contestants are covertly hoaxing the producers, there is a good chance that the social atmosphere of this neighborhood will be horribly damaged for years.
    • What are the effects on the family and friends of those trapped inside the wall?
    • Does this show qualify as torture?
    • How much informed consent were the contestants given? Considering that the contestants did not seem to know in advance about the wall or the cutting off of electricity, there is a good chance that the answer is “insufficient”.
    Overall, I am very disappointed with the show, and I hope the producers are thrown in jail.
  2. Stupid attempt at religious oppression: “Euless to ask court to rehear Santeria animal sacrifice case”. General rule: freedom of religion means freedom of religion for everyone not hurting or endangering other people, not just those one likes.
  3. I am going to let this one speak for itself: “Toronto's newest speaking star: a would-be suicide bomber”.
  4. More Jewish self-introspection: “Modern-Orthodox Alternatives to Reactionary Judaism”.
  5. Who says we are necessarily going morally downhill?: “Monogamy Is All the Rage These Days”.
Personal weirdness: Lijit has reported to me the “Top Searches that Brought Readers to Your Blog” for August 3 to August 10:
  1. thing of the day (10 times)
  2. harlow several dumplings and the sabbath queen (7 times)
  3. harlow and the sabbath queen (4 times)
  4. harlow the sabbath queen (3 times)
  5. adhar university cairo egypt (2 times)
  6. harlow, seven dumplings, and the sabbath queen (2 times)
  7. coptic cherch design (2 times)
  8. misconceptions about the meaning to life (2 times)
  9. "harlow and the sabbath queen" (2 times)
  10. cardboard coffee table (2 times)
  11. ezekial youtube lego dry bones (1 time)
  12. speaking in latin without knowing (1 time)
  13. harlow, several dumplings and the sabbath queen (1 time)
  14. shaktism misconceptions (1 time)
  15. harlow, seven dumplings and the sabbath queen book (1 time)
  16. the harlow several dumplings and the sabbath queen (1 time)
  17. maher and ridicule (1 time)
  18. harlow, several dumplings, and the sabbath queen (1 time)
  19. flying carpet commodore 64 (1 time)
  20. steel mask weapons dealer (1 time)
  21. miscavige prophecy 2009 (1 time)
  22. harlow several dumplings (1 time)
  23. fiji blog sites (1 time)
  24. "harlow" and "sabbath queen" (1 time)
  25. weird thing of the day (1 time)
Again, ten of the top 25 searches had something to do with Harlow, Several Dumplings, and the Sabbath Queen, the fictional book in the episode “The Sabbath Queen” of the miniseries Kings, the only search producing anything more being “thing of the day”. Go figure.
Today’s news and commentary:
Today’s weird thing is “why yes . . .”:
funny pictures of cats with captions
Enjoy and share the weirdness.

Aaron
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