A few months ago, the Human Resources department in a large company I'm associated with sent an email about some benefits esoterica to all employees. They neglected, however, to disable the "Reply All" function. Here's a rough approximation of the ensuing emails that the entire company received:
Idiot 1: This doesn't concern me. Please take me off the distribution list.
Idiot 2: You just hit Reply All. Just hit Reply so the whole company doesn't get it.
Idiot 3: You're both hitting Reply All.
Idiot 4: I don't want to be part of this list either. Please remove me.
Idiot 3: Don't you people get it? When you hit Reply All, everybody gets the email!
Idiot 5: You just did the same thing.
Idiot 6: If I have a deferred medical compensation benefit from last year, is it taxable this year?
Idiot 3: Stop hitting Reply All!!!!!
Idiot 5: You stop too.
I got so fed up that I drafted this fake email, though I didn't have the guts to send it to the offenders:
Thank you for providing the crucial bit of information we needed in our campaign to reduce overhead. By choosing to "Reply All" to the Benefit message in order to express your dissatisfaction with getting "Reply All" emails, you have proven that you are either: a) astoundingly unintelligent; b) incredibly obnoxious; or c) oblivious to the fact that the distribution list contains more names than just your own.
Whatever the cause proves to be, we hope you can find the right mix of counseling and remedial education to be marginally successful in your next job. Security will arrive in five minutes to escort you from the building. Please take only your personal belongings, and don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.
The American Bar Association has announced that al Qaeda terrorists should be afforded the same rights as America citizens. In other words, the people who want to cut your throat and drape a burkha over the Statue of Liberty (I'm talking about the terrorists here, not the lawyers), according to the ABA, deserve the protections of the Constitution they want to burn. The Wall Street Journal, by the way, smacks the ABA around pretty good for this one.
Lawyers. Can't live with 'em, can't legally shoot them all and dump their bodies in a landfill.
Not without a Constitutional amendment, anyway. And those are hard to get.
Check out this great image of night views of the earth, supposedly taken from a satellite. I say "supposedly" because I haven't verified the source, and it seems strange to have one picture of the whole earth at night -- isn't it always daylight somewhere? That's how I keep from being afraid of the dark, you know.
But let's assume it's legitimate, because it proves a point I want to make. Notice the correlation between light and free societies. Coincidence? Only to people who flunked econ.
Recall yesterday I told you about the Olympic figureskating controversy, in which judges from countries with rational political cultures lined up against judges from countries whose cultures place less value on truth. Well now it appears that judges from two of the latter countries, Russia and France, had a tit for tat deal.
Think about this. The Soviet Union invented techniques to brush enemies of the state out of photographs, while France produced deconstructionist theory. Should we be surprised that their representative judges seem to have trouble maintaining the integrity of their positions?
Remember during the cold war, how we could always count on the judge from some Soviet bloc country to lowball American athletes? Perhaps in framing this as an extension of the battle between American and Soviet powers we missed the real battle, which appears to be between political cultures with different beliefs about the meaning of truth. What makes me think about this is the recent Olympic figure skating controversy, in which a Russian pair defeated a Canadian pair, despite the fact that the latter skated a technically perfect routine.
I'm no skating expert, so I can't speak to which side is right in this dispute. What's interesting about this spat is the breakdown of the voting: the judges who scored the Canadians higher were from the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Germany, while the judges who scored the Russians higher were from Russia, China, Poland, Ukraine, and France.
Notice that the first group contains countries where speech is relatively free, where academics are largely unfettered to pursue research, and where elections are generally open. The second group, on the other hand, consists of two states that brutally suppress their citizenry, two with a history of doing so, and one that has spawned a host of hateful anti-rational thinkers ranging from Derrida to Ho Chi Minh. While truth is treated as something to be independently sought in the former group, truth has long been undermined in the latter.
This leads me to a second, related thought. It is clear that totalitarian states are characterized by their politicization of everything, from the names of towns to the personal faiths of their citizens. So nobody is surprised when representatives from these countries do nasty things in international bodies, like vote to include Sudan and Libya on the U.N. Human Rights Commission while ousting the U.S., or unfairly scoring athletes from communist countries higher than athletes from relatively free countries.
Given that we know these things, it makes sense to alter the Olympic (if not the U.N.) rules to account for this bias. One simple method might be to deny countries representation on Olympic committees or judges panels so long as their countries receive a failing grade from Freedom House. Of course this wouldn't eliminate the French, but no method is perfect.
Angry at being listed in U.S. President Bush's "Axis of Evil," millions of Iranians have taken to the streets, according to the New York Times, in order to prove him wrong by chanting "Death to America!" and burning the U.S. flag. Through my international terror connections I have obtained an exclusive interview with one of the protestors, Mr. Mohammed Khami:
SitG:"What do you and your fellow protestors want to say to the world?"
Khami:"We are not an axis of evil, as your President Bush has called us. We prefer to be called an axis of Misogynistic Totalitarianism. There's a difference, you know."
SitG:"What do you hope to accomplish by taking to the street today?"
Khami:"Well, just between you and me, my boss has been on my ass to get this big report finished, but with everyone out protesting, he can't really come down on me for it. Plus when the crowd really gets rocking and people are flailing about, sometimes you can see a chick's ankle or wrist.
You aren't going to print this are you?"
SitG:"What do you hope will come from all of this?"
Khami:"I hope that the Americans will choke on their own vomit, and be consumed by the fiery hell that knows no quenching."
"I also hope to get a job in my brother Abdul's computer shop in Detroit, once my papers are cleared. And I think I have a shot at getting on Survivor. Those wussies don't know the first thing about suffering. I would eat them alive one by one until there's nobody left but me and Amber Brkich. She's a hottie."
SitG:"Thank you for your time."
Khami:"May worms devour your intestines. Here's a copy of my resume'."