Sunday, January 28, 2007


K has some questions that are pointless. My favourite kind. So I'm going to answer them.

Why do they only make movies about bleeding heart Caucasian teachers who work at inner city schools? Surely there are Black, Asian, Hispanic, India, (insert your favorite race or nationality here) teachers who have effected kids in a positive and life changing manner.

Because the audience for films is predominantly white and whites' image of nonwhites does not include being "positive" and "lifechanging". Most films that try to portray them that way bomb.

Why will films show full frontal nudity of woman, but you never get to see a man’s penis?

Men make the rules. All this talk of equality has blinded us to our world's not being equal. You get silly sods like Don, who think we are marching to an equal opportunities wonderland, when we are actually just shifting the battlefields, switching the hatreds, living in the same shit, just throwing it in different directions.

Why does our society listen to the opinions of celebrities when it comes to social issues and politics?

This seems at first glance a difficult, although seemingly central, question, until you answer the deeper question that lies behind it: why do we listen to the opinions of anyone? A hundred years ago, the answer might have been: because they have authority or learning. Now the answer is: because they have a platform. People demand authority because of their relation to you, not because they deserve it. Take the work environment. A hundred years ago you would have had a boss and a ganger. The boss was the guy who owned the factor; the ganger the guy who directed your work. The boss had authority because he could readily fire you. The ganger had authority because he had his position because of his experience and ability in the task he performed. Now you have a ton of "bosses". Competency is not a requirement, nor generally do they have much affect on you. They have their authority solely on account of their job title. Contrast this with the stereotypical Muslim community, in which the thought leaders are older men who have demonstrable learning. (I'm not going to argue here about how unacceptable it is that the role is not open to women.) Is it any wonder they can't understand, and do not want, Western-style thought leadership?

In a modernist world, expertise counts; in the postmodernist world, only being able to insert yourself into another's headspace does. We know that celebrities' views are no more valuable than anyone else's. But we are looking for thought leadership and will take it from wherever we can get it. We are social animals, not great thinkers, after all.

Why do American’s only want to vote for politicians that seem to have perfect lives?

It's solely a way to distinguish one from another. American politicians do not differ sufficiently politically for it to be feasible to vote for them on that basis. So you set them the test of irreproachability as a means of winnowing out at least some of them. Empathy and understanding for your fellows is not in the slightest bit useful to someone whose job is to serve the interests that propelled them into power.

If we got rid of drive-thru windows, would obesity decline?

No, it wouldn't, I'm sorry to say. Obesity is an outcome of the cheapness and ubiquity of crap food -- and of course removing driveins would make the crap slightly less available, but you would not suddenly start eating carrots.


At 2:44 pm, Anonymous k said...

I hate it when you are charming and witty when I deeply annoyed with you. (grin)

At 6:38 pm, Blogger Don said...

About teacher films, you are half-right, in that the movie makers aim for the largest movie-going demographic hence pander to white people's desire to like themselves. But the only inner-city teacher movie I've ever seen was about an Hispanic teacher, Stand And Deliver. (OK, three quarters right.)

I'm out of touch with movies. I used to have a similar complaint when Star Trek: TNG always seemed to cast black actors in the role of some sympathetic person who gets killed.

Frontal nudity: I'm a man and I think penises should be shown. Maybe I'm out of touch with my inner pig. I won't deny being a silly sod, but the shifting around, though real, can only lead to that wonderland eventually, because every shift demolishes one more increment of bigotry, and one more generation arises that is nonplussed at some odd prejudice or other of the previous one.

Sometimes my optimism annoys even me.

You are dead on with the politicians thing. They are indistinguishable, except that Gore or Kerry's puppetmasters wouldn't have invaded Iraq. They would have done some other horrible thing, like embargo Saudi or something, I don't know, a Plan B from the same fine folks who brought you Plan A to Baghdad, just another face on their global D&D die.

At 6:44 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Dude, there's optimism and then there's fucking Candide, IYKWIM.


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