A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Links, June 2016

Considering that 90% of the sixth Harry Potter film was just about teenagers being frisky and hormonal, they could at least have done it the proper way: as a teen comedy.

The current Republican party is depressing for a number of reasons, including its positions on immigration. There was a better time, though: see this 1980 video of soon-to-be-POTUS Ronald Reagan and his soon-to-be-VPOTUS (and successor as POTUS) George H.W. Bush discussing illegal immigration.

Have you heard that "Happy Birthday" is under copyright, and can only be used in films at great expense? Turns out the copyright has been overturned! (Yes, this is old news. It was recent at the time I added it to my list of links, dammit!)

Despite its lack of Euro '16 coverage, FiveThirtyEight.com remains one of my very favourite websites. One of the reasons is its coverage of questions which are not only important, but with answers that are applicable to daily life. To wit: when should you turn up for a party?

Zilla Van Den Born's holiday to Thailand was unlike any other: it took place entirely in her flat, through the medium of Photoshop.

A review of Brighouse and Swift's Family Values, a book which argued that the imperative of social equality places strong limits upon what parents can do for their kids. The book, for me, exemplified two of the great malaises of modern political philosophy: attempting to provide essentially consequentialist grounds for essentially deontological concepts like non-legal rights, and armchair psychology presented as moral principles.
(Worryingly, these seem set to continue. I recently had a conversation with a PhD student working in this area, and trollishly suggested that egalitarian governments should intervene to encourage non-assortative mating. Obviously you can't force people to marry outside their social class, but if you can require military service why can't you require them to occasionally go on a date with someone they otherwise wouldn't? If you can subsidise marriage, why can't you give a higher subsidy to cross-class marriage? Her objection was that "it would require us to identify some people as the least attractive, and this would be harmful to their self-esteem." Presumably the collection and publication of income statistics is impermissibly harmful to the self-esteem of those on low incomes, and if some independently of the government were to come up with an objective measure of which people are least attractive then as an egalitarian this PhD would have had no further objections to my proposed measures. But I digress.)
In any case, the review is worth reading as a critique of the book on its own terms.

The Independent (to which, RIP): "Christians are the world's most persecuted people".
Salon (to which, please also die): "The Myth of Christian Persecution".
Sort yourself out, left-wing media complex!

A fascinating attempt to portray anti-suffragism as it was seen by sensible, liberal, anti-suffragists. The argument about maintaining a non-politicised sphere of society hits very close to me: people should be able to avoid politics, and the current fashion of right-ons for insisting that everyone vote is not only dangerous and misguided as a way of improving the world, but deeply depressing. If you are interested in politics and you follow one of these links, make it this one.

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