January 30th, 2011



THIS came up on Twitter the other day and it's painfully groan-worthy reading. It's also ironic since it's making 'fun' of people's common tacks to dismiss arguments while, at the same time, essentially being a guide to arguments that must be dismissed.

Additional irony comes in with on the one hand criticising scientific studies for being biased and at the same time complaining that the argument 'you have an agenda' has no merit. Science at least works to eliminate bias through peer review and the confirmation of results through repetition. If you do have an agenda that cannot help but colour your views through confirmation and cognitive bias. To choose a less emotionally triggering example than persons of minorities, take climate change deniers or creationists. Their agenda very much colours how they interact with and perceive data. People with an agenda will tend to filter everything they take in by rejecting that which doesn't conform to their pre-existing worldview and only accepting that which supports - or which they think supports - that worldview.

This is true with any strongly held position and it take a lot of work to overcome, particularly through exposure to other points of view than your own and examining them rationally.

The 'article' also attempts to simultaneously invalidate the personal experience of the 'privileged' person while sanctifying the personal experience of the person claiming discrimination. Both are personal experiences and are anecdotal, functionally useless when examining an issue dispassionately and factually.

There are some good and occasionally humorous points on this article, but overall it ends up shooting itself in the foot through hypocrisy, irony and, perhaps most awfully, carrying with it the implicit idea that in order to comment or hold an opinion on any issue (with or without supporting evidence) relating to a minority you must, per force, be 'privileged' to be a member of that minority.

As a left-anarchist by ideology and a socialist by pragmatism I'm for equality and the tearing down of privilege in whatever form it takes but I can't help feeling that this sort of overblown pomposity and total lack of humour, perspective or introspection is counter-productive, whatever and whoever you are.
Drop bears

Writer's Block: Looney times

What was your favorite childhood cartoon, and why?

We were early adopters of satellite television, a gigantic dish in the back garden. As such I was able to see special, secret cartoon treats that nobody else got to see. This made them extra special. Of these, what stuck in my mind the most was Robotech, showing on Roustabout on Eutelsat. The first series with the Zentraedi got me hooked, but it was the Invid invasion that stuck with me. Definitely my favourite childhood cartoon.