|Posted by Cobaltsoul on February 17, 2011 at 5:37 AM||comments (0)|
You know how sometimes something just strikes as being SO dumb or SO funny or SO somethingorother? I had one of those moments today, listening to the radio I heard a politician who was SO stupid he managed to demonstrate that what he was saying was wrong while he was saying it and without noticing that he'd done it.
World's Dumbest Politician.
And that's a category with some pretty stiff competition in it.
The topic was multiculturalism as a national policy. Which has been in Australia for most of my life a bilateral policy. One party first started talking about it when they were in power, the other major party made it legislative policy when they were next in power. No elections were fought over it, pretty much everyone has agreed that it's the kind of Australia we want. When you migrate to Australia we don't expect you to abandon your culture to fit in. Bring the best of your culture with you and celebrate it as a community and let the rest of us enjoy the additional riches we discover flowing into our national awareness from your cultural streams. We have a few values which are non negotiable, like equality of respect regardless of differences and fairness and being a meritocracy but other than that, be Greek, be Lebanese, be Italian, be Vietnamese, be Sudanese, be who you are and be it together and we don't have a problem with that.
Now recently the current government has overtly re-stated their committment to multiculturalism and to wanting to revive our awareness of it as a national direction and value.
So the World's Dumbest Politician candidate gets on the radio and says something like this.
Multiculturalism is such an old hat term. (Substantive analysis there, really getting to grips with the issues at an important verbal fashions level.) We've been talking about multiculturalism and implementing it in this nation for over thirty years, it's so past it's used by date. The current government just wants to create division and an excuse to treat different groups differently and if they adopt a multicultural policy we'll end up with the kind of divisions and problems we seen in Germany and England in their failed multicultural policies.
You said we've been implementing multiculturalism for thirty years (And you can't point to it creating division and failure up to this point, or you would have.) but if we start implementing it NOW it will fail. Point out that it's worked for thirty years and then think that supports your denial that it can work now.
Additional stupidity: "treat different groups differently" wow, such a terrible idea, recognise differences that require different approaches and implement them so we all reach the same goal.
Additional additional stupidity: because the same word "multiculturalism" is used in three different countries assume, like the simplistic moron you are, that it refers to the same attitudes, the same policy, the same system and the same implementation processes.
It was one of those moments of me yelling at the radio as I drove down the road. He He. Probably even waving one hand in the air like the Italian mates I grew up with in Western Australia.
The human capacity to astonish never ceases to astonish me.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on October 4, 2010 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
There was a time when we paid no attention to the way we used language to include and exclude people. In some places language is still used that way.
In the West, many people sneer at the idea of being "pc". Such people are likely too stupid to understand the power of language and why it's important, if they are stupid they are probably also too stupid to recognise that in resisting egalitarian language they are helping to maintain the barriers that keep them as one of the weakened, excluded, marginalised. If they are not stupid then their reason for sneering at pc language is likely because they have a vested interest in keeping others weak. Consciously or unconsciously they recognise their own power and position needs the warping of language to help maintain it.
Here is one example that is really pissing me off.
It's Humanity, not Mankind.
There is no reason at all to use the outdated term "mankind" when referring to the whole human race. There is a legitimate linguistic reason why "man" was used in English to refer to the whole human race. Several hundred years ago it did mean the whole race and there were two other terms specifiying 'man' and 'woman'. Language changes, what was fair is no longer justifiable. In modern English 'man' is equivalent to 'male' and there is an inevitable connotation, when we say 'mankind' of meaning 'males'.
Any time someone says something like "Only Jill Average can save mankind" they can just as easily, and far more accurately say, "Only Jill Average can save humanity."
"Mankind is putting the whole planet at risk" (Hmmm, given the preponderance of males in leadership of business and government the world over, this statement is gender accurate on the face of it.) can just as easily be written, "Humanity is putting the whole planet at risk."
The simplest way to explain why 'mankind' is a bad term to go on using is this: the term mankind now implies that male is the basic pattern for being a person. Nonsense. As long as there have been humans we have been female and male together. The basic pattern for being a person is just that, being a person. The term humanity embraces us all without connotations, unconscious defects or meaning ambiguities.
Humanity means the whole human race.
We are no longer mankind. We are humanity.
Take a look, see how often the term 'mankind' is used when it can't be replaced simply with Humanity.
Humanity always fits.
|Posted by Cobaltsoul on July 20, 2009 at 4:30 AM||comments (0)|
In the news today was a report on some expert opinion about a proposed high speed broadband network to be created in Australia at astronomical cost. The particular experts commented on have suggested that the intended speed of the network would only be needed by a fraction of the proposed customers. Their opinion was that only businesses and universities would need or use the full potential of the network, people at home would need only 10-20% of the full speeds available.
Seems like a reasonable enough opinion but it isn't.
Bill Gates infamous statement that "640K RAM ought to be enough for anybody." is apocryphal but Ken Olsen, founder of DEC did say, in 1977, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Such are only the most recent versions of a common occurrence, lack of imagination on the part of experts looking into the future. Despite this dynamic being historically verifiable experts continue to be asked to give opinions about the future, which opinions usually turn out to be totally useless. Then governments make decisions based on those opinions and down the road the decisions have to be un made and remade.
Maybe I can illustrate the faulty thinking in this most recent Australian example.
Yesterday I had a video conversation, sight and sound, with some friends in Thailand. My room to their room, none of us are high tech geeks, just normal computer users using the same equipment and software half the world now owns as a matter of course. Such a possibility was not considered 15 years ago, anywhere but in SF or comics. The new idea came after the technical possibilities where there to be manipulated with imagination. Now there are mobile phones that provide the same ability and at some point I suspect we will find a way to carry this kind of technology (Probably a mostly organic version of the hardware though.) inside our bodies, no appliance needed.
The point is that once the hard core technical capacity is generally available this opens up a whole new field for imagination to create new realities.
Once every home in Australia can receive and transmit the same level of information as that used by a business or a university new uses for that ability will be imagined and created that ARE relevant to *homes and families*.
The experts in this case made the fatal error of assuming that because this massive level of information transmission has only been used in the past by narrow fields ofendeavour, that such a reality must persist into the future. The opposite is true.
The past is the foundation for the future but NOT the predictor of it.
I don't need to be able to imagine the exact details to imagine a general direction, eg, if your home and my home can receive, process and transmit university grade levels of information it makes a radical de-centralization of such (University) information storage and processing possible, it also implies the possibility of a radical re-structuring of tertiary education system and possibly the entire education system.
Alternatively I can imagine using all this transmission capacity for freakishly advanced *tele-presence* applications which enable people to interact as visually present bodies without actually leaving their own homes. Given how large a role social networking already plays in the lives of younger generations do you really think there will be no demand for making that networking online more and more detailed, in depth, nuanced and information rich?
I can't blame the experts for being historians when they needed to be imagineers.
We all do it.
We project our past into our future and mistake that for actual knowledge of what to expect.
The future is open, it is not merely the continuation of the past, it constantly throws up newness, originality, innovation, change, revolution.
Here's a prediction, just for the hell of it, within my lifetime (I'm 47) it will be possible and common for us to enjoy holographic projections of the Mars landscape in our own homes, live transmissions of that landscape.
This is not an innovative idea, it merely imagines an increase in the magnitudes of distance, detail and quality levels from the current *live cam showing London 24/7* that anyone can access right now online.
It also assumes we will actually go to Mars, and I do assume that, unless we fall apart as a global civilization, we will expand. Aside from our naturally inquisitive nature we are also subject to the pressures for more space that flow from the fact of our pro-creative instincts.
Human population will never attain a steady state, it will always be growing, the only dynamic that could force a steady state would be a total planetary dictatorship, the scale and severity of which would ultimately usher in a new dark ages as it crumpled under the burden of it's own inevitable social, intellectual and moral entropy.
Anyway, my main point is this - The future is open, new realities await us, as societies and as individuals.
OH, did you notice my self contradiction? "Human population will never attain a steady state." Ha! To me. That statement is based on me merely projecting the past and assuming some new ideas, new dynamics, new cultural memes are not possible that will transform even such fundamental realities as the intinct to produce children even when that process threatens survival possibilities.
It's a hard habit to break - not pro-creation - lack of imagination, it's hard to break.