1628) Most of the striking images that we encounter are in the service of salesmanship; and if skimpy panties and bulging briefs have become commonplace billboard images, it should be no surprise that sexually explicit art gets construed as a form of advertising. [...]
Consumer culture has almost obliterated the line between the public sphere. where certain images were once proscribed by civic standards of decency, and the private sphere, where images frankly designed to induce sexual pleasure have been tolerated. In this environment, one does not necessarily have to be hostile to pornography as an option to be disturbed by the drift of contemporary art toward what was once deemed the pornographic.
Andrew Delbanco "They Know What They Don't Like" New York Times Book Review (12/31/1995) [review of The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism by Wendy Steiner]
1629) It is no wonder that Senators Helms and D'Amato have trouble distinguishing representation of sado-masochistic sex from the advocacy of sado-masochistic sex when the normal [sic] function of photography in the "real world" is to promote products.
Wendy Steiner The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism (1995) quoted by Andrew Delbanco in "They Know What They Don't Like" New York Times Book Review (12/31/1995)
1630) In sociobiological terms, a species that suffers severely from constant internal strife--including theft, assault, and other acts which we now think of as criminal--will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to species whose members behave more cooperatively with each other. To a large extent, then, large-scale intra-species sociopathic behavior has been selected out by evolution. Consequently, in primitive cultures, people respect each others' rights even though there is no explicit threat of retribution. (There may be various mores and taboos instead, or social pressure to conform, but this is not what you're talking about when you say that it is only the threat of punishment that keeps people from running amok.)
Even in "decadent" modern cultures, people do not in fact habitually steal from each other, and the threat of law enforcement has very little to do with it. For instance, it would be a simple matter to steal a newspaper off my neighbor's doorstep. Yet when my neighbor comes home in the evening, his newspaper is still there, waiting for him. And this in New York City, not known as a center for law abiding behavior.
A couple of decades ago, the police in New York went on strike for a few days. So far as anyone was able to tell, there was no increase in crime.
The idea that we need "properly qualified" law-enforcement personnel to avert social self-destruction is rooted mostly in fear. I have never seen any proof that it is true. A recent Cato study showed that crime in America correlates much more with poverty than with lack of police; indeed, an increase in police recruitment is usually followed by an increase in reported crime, though no one is precisely sure why.
Since a "law enforcement class" always entails the probability of corruption and usually attracts at least some people who enjoy the application of power as an end in itself, I would personally prefer a society without a police force in the usual sense, and I would feel safer in it. I trust my neighbor more than I trust my neighborhood police.
Charles Platt rec.arts.sf.written (1/3/1996)
1631) There is something about moderation that runs directly against the American grain. This is a country that doesn't like speed limits, backs the rights of every citizen to shoulder a grenade launcher and firmly believes that the aging process can be either slowed down or arrested entirely.
William Grimes "Good News on Drinking: Fries With That, Please" New York Times Week In Review (1/7/1996)
1632) I am quite certain that political societies are not what their laws make them, but what sentiments, belief, ideas, habits of the heart, and the spirit of the men who form them, prepare them in advance to be, as well as what nature and education have made them.
Alexis de Tocqueville letter Alexis de Tocqueville: Selected Letters on Politics and Society (1985) Roger Boesche, ed.
1633) There is, in formation, a whole body of potential 'new men' in American universities and even in business circles: men without heads and without imagination, with three or four eyes and iron teeth, who are secretly in love with the concept of a vast managerial society. One day we are going to wake up and find American and Russia in bed together (forgive the unmonastic image) and realize they were happily married all along. It is then that the rest of us are going to have to sort ourselves out and find out if there remains, for us, a little fresh air somewhere in the universe.
Thomas Merton letter to Czeslaw Milosz (c.1969) Courage for Truth (1993) posted by Tom Dillingham [PKD] (1/8/1996)
[PKD] - Internet Philip K. Dick mailing list
Note: "3089/898" is the designation I've given to the project of posting all my collected quotes, excerpts and ideas (3089 of them) in the remaining days of the Bush administration (of which there were 898 left when I began). As of today, there are 456 days remaining in the administration of the worst American President ever.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.