Monday, March 31, 2008

brain brain what is brain

Volition can serve as a good analogy when you're trying to understand how insensate things behave. “The current's going to look for the shortest path to ground.” “The corporation will do whatever it needs to to protect itself.” Even where no intention exists, we see nature acting as if there is conscious will. Like you and me: We do stuff. We have reasons for doing stuff. I think it happens in that order, too. The prefrontal cortex is like a harried PR flack trying to come up with plausible explanations for the stupid crap the lizard brain makes us do.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Games begin with the traditional throwing out of our last scruple

The International Olympic Committee doesn't think that China's treatment of Tibet warrants a boycott. The IOC believes that human rights is a political issue, and international competition should be unsullied by politics. Krupp and Ford felt the same way. Anyway, they say, this event will be transformative- a catalyst for change. Like Berlin in 1936. Still, some people might stay away on their own; some athletes are hesitant to perform in Beijing on the grounds that the air might be bad for their lungs. But that's sort of like refusing to consume human flesh out of concern for your digestion.

Monday, March 17, 2008

I miss Cory and Trevor

By the time you start to wonder if your shtick might be getting a little old it's pretty much been over for a long time and everybody but you knows it. That's why sequels suck. All of them. Jaws II. Elizabeth II. Word War II. Imagine if Romeo and Juliet jumped up and said, “Oh! We're totally not dead, but our folks still want to keep us apart!” Five more acts of pubescent tsuris, only this time completely flat and lame. Plus, probably there'd be a part in there (as a warm-hearted, wisecracking father confessor, maybe) for Robin Williams.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Or did you say "highly deluded?"

Homeopathy is one of those nutcase fringe beliefs, like orgones and barbershop quartets. The idea is that the cure for any pathology lies in finding something that actually causes the same symptoms. This is diluted until it is mathematically unlikely that even a molecule of the original substance remains. Believers claim that some intangible memory of the remedy persists. By that same logic, each sip of water you take is subtly infused with the feces of every creature that has ever lived... Brontosaurus, Socrates, Katherine Hepburn, et al. But if "like cures like," why are homeopaths so full of it?

Monday, March 3, 2008

He joins Tim, Jeff, and Lord.

William F. Buckley is gone, gone his lizard face and patrician drone. He was smart and he was conservative, but that doesn't prove anything. Here's a quote from John Stuart Mill: “What I stated was, that the Conservative Party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract that assertion; but I did not mean to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.”