The Sloppy Mermaid

Saturday, April 29, 2006

'Hammer & tickle'

Essays: 'Hammer & tickle' by Ben Lewis | Prospect Magazine May 2006 issue 122: "A man dies and goes to hell. There he discovers that he has a choice: he can go to capitalist hell or to communist hell. Naturally, he wants to compare the two, so he goes over to capitalist hell. There outside the door is the devil, who looks a bit like Ronald Reagan. 'What's it like in there?' asks the visitor. 'Well,' the devil replies, 'in capitalist hell, they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.'

'That's terrible!' he gasps. 'I'm going to check out communist hell!' He goes over to communist hell, where he discovers a huge queue of people waiting to get in. He waits in line. Eventually he gets to the front and there at the door to communist hell is a little old man who looks a bit like Karl Marx. 'I'm still in the free world, Karl,' he says, 'and before I come in, I want to know what it's like in there.'

'In communist hell,' says Marx impatiently, 'they flay you alive, then they boil you in oil, and then they cut you up into small pieces with sharp knives.'

'But ... but that's the same as capitalist hell!' protests the visitor, 'Why such a long queue?'

'Well,' sighs Marx, 'Sometimes we're out of oil, sometimes we don't have knives, sometimes no hot water ...'"

Friday, April 28, 2006

Room of Her Own

Room of Her Own:
"The reaction revealed how far feminism had become removed from ordinary women. There had always been a totalitarian element that was less interested in individual freedom than social revolution - the notion that a woman shouldn't have the option to work outside of the home but rather the obligation. Simone de Beauvoir had written, "No woman should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children... Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one." Yet her strain never found a popular audience: the Second Sex author famously threw Friedan's Second Stage across a room. (Interviewed about the book, Friedan told the New York Times, "Some militants repudiated all the parts of the personhood of women that have been and are still expressed in family, home and love. In trying to ape men's lives, they have truncated themselves away from grounding experiences.)"

Friday, April 21, 2006

Science for Better Government

Science for Better Government: "The real genius of this strange and amorphous organization is that it is more dedicated to the truth than to any of the other competing imperatives, be they political convictions or the wishes of the sponsors or the politics of the current administration. This is why the Jasons have lasted as long as they have. As independent scientists, Jasons are dedicated to the idea that, as anonymous group member 'Professor Y' puts it, 'there is truth and there's right and we can find it.' But, the professor adds, 'holding on to that purity and walking with society is difficult.' The tradition of the Jasons is to try to do both; to maintain the purity and clarity of the scientific method in the middle of a dirty and lethal world. It is this effort to balance the two that, for many years, has enabled Jason to provide the government with an honest and independent opinion as free from internal bias as possible. Now, because of this excellent study, we know how vital this effort has been for our survival."

Friday, April 07, 2006

Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight

BBC NEWS | World | Lion Mutilates 42 Midgets in Cambodian Ring-Fight: "Spectators cheered as entire Cambodian Midget Fighting League squared
off against African Lion"