Archive for March, 2010

Ha ha ha. Who said Soviet propaganda techniques were out of fashion? Whilst I despise most of the behaviour of masculine people, and feel sick at violence and training people to kill, I know ill-motivated hypocrisy when I see a full length advert on Soldiers of Conscience, featuring only persons serving in the US military.

As for the Burqa, Hijab, Jilbab or BinLiner? Hmmm, let’s ask some relevant questions. My sister who wears the veil, what are her choices now; why is s/he saying s/he wants to wear it; who taught her to put on that shroud; what were their motives? Sure, the principle of liberty means one is free to wear the veil. But that is only one-third of the equation.

The next third is the ideological meanings radiating from this shroud. That we, half of humanity, should be ashamed of our gender identity and role? Our XX-SNC physiological type? Our rich affectional orientation? Our capacity to share ourselves and create new life? That the sensuous and erotic is satanic and to be disowned, rather than integrated into a world of grown-up love, respect, desire and creativity?

That the other half of humanity is excused if it assaults someone because of uncontrolled “sexual impulses”? That I or another XX-SNC person’s affectional and erotic life is always managed by someone else – her “father”, her “brother”, her “uncle”, her “husband”? All patriarchal tyrants.

Which brings us to the final third. Don’t expect such obnoxious fallacies to go unchallenged, whether or not they are given the colour of a religious creed. The challenge may be coolly reasonable. It may be outrageous. What I say is “F*ck that demeaning shit!” Top marks to Anne Elizabeth-Moutet.

BTW…..Islamophobia is clearly a b*llshit concept, invented by persons who have no dedication to freedom of expression, and who wish to short-circuit robust public debate.

(i) It is an attempt to insulate ridiculous or obnoxious political or ethical beliefs from analysis and deserved mockery. Religion especially is very fair game for completely unbridled criticism.

(ii) No self-respecting individual would allow themselves to be compartmentalised and categorised purely in terms of their ideological precepts. I do not criticise the core of your identity even if I you thoroughly ridicule your most treasured beliefs, albeit that I should confine such ridicule to the public square. I have no entitlement to demand entry to expound my views to private associations where religious neurotics congregate – churches, mosques, synagogues, whatever

(iii) Except in the minds of clerical fascists, there is no respectable notion of a unified homogenous group of persons, called Islamists. Rather, there are revolting ideas, and the Islamic Ideology is full of them. I criticise the ideas, and anyone ill-motivated enough to claim that such ideas can justify wrongdoing.

Regards, andrea

Read Full Post »

First, it is true body scanning might not detect all threats. But it does detect a significant class of realistic threats, which are not feasibly detected by other means.

Second, despite political flannel, it is obvious that even excellent intelligence work, which after all would no doubt require extraordinarily invasive access to private data, cannot prevent unpredictable killers from presenting themselves at check-in. Grooming of otherwise unremarkable agents is a terrorist method.

Third, I struggle to see the difficulty in allowing intimate but non-tactile searches, given that tactile and quite intimate searches are already commonplace.

Forth, in any balancing exercise, obviously a sacrifice of “modesty” (so called) on the part of some people is an appropriate, rationally connected and proportionate method, when the nature of the threat is destruction of the plane and the murder of the passengers.

Speaking for myself, being unabashed like those admirable German Young Pirates, I would walk naked, no bra no knickers, in public through a scanner if that was the proportionate price of safer travel, for myself and my co-passengers. I would subject myself to such scanning, and reasonably expect my co-passengers to likewise consent.

In particular, so called “religious beliefs”, but to my mind utterly irrational reactionary dogma, should carry zero weight, in considering the proportionality of the scanning. So-called “religious concerns” about modesty are code for hatred of the public and political visibility of persons of my physiological type. “Religious modesty” is at root a pretext for enforcement of religiously inspired gender apartheid. Ha, I would make it a buying factor that the airline employed intimate scanners 🙂

It is also relevant that this hatred of the feminine, and the consequent revolting hyper-masculinity and erotic frustration, are part of the psychosexual imbalance generating the violence within the Islamic Ideology, the inspiration for most contemporary terrorists. Public security policy could quite properly have as one of its purposes the undoing of this psychosexual imbalance.

As a general doctrine, we need to carefully distinguish slightly neurotic conceptions of privacy meaning invisibility, from privacy meaning the right to control my person and property and interests. We live in a very high-speed, technologically driven culture, where the swiftness of our transactions is highly beneficial. But that implies a preparedness to consent to the sharing of well-defined but often very detailed data about oneself with persons who otherwise know nothing about you.

Remember that travel is a choice, and primarily a matter of private contract. Although freedom of contract has its limitations, the starting point of contractual consent to intimate scan, as a precondition of travel, is hardly obnoxious.

Furthermore, if I choose to travel, I have an extra-contractual duty to assist my co-passengers to travel safely. This derives from my innate humanity, my common-sisterhood.

I observe, with a smile, that if I happily get undressed voluntarily to make love with someone I care for, then it is difficult for me to argue that I should not be highly visible when my mortal interests and those of my co-passengers are significantly engaged.

Obviously the technology is open to mischievous use. So, non-retention of scanning data that reveals no realistic threat, beyond say the duration of the flight, sounds like a sensible data protection principle.

Regards, andrea

Read Full Post »

OMGoddess, I thought YAB had principles and capacity for critical thinking.

Now I realise s/he is programmed by the Islamic Ideology. Instead of debating the argument that freedom of expression trumps your right not to be offended, s/he switches to the usual Islamic Apologist rant about not enough exposé of the “evils” of the Jewish Conspiracy. Of course, s/he says s/he discusses the problems of Islam all the time. Obviously not its paranoia and virulent hatred of free speech.

♥ andrea

Read Full Post »

Hmm, typical bad “idealist” argument.

The error, indeed the contradiction in the argument, is to suppose there is a valid definition of “external world”, but then to suffer torments of metaphysical anguish because it seems impossible ever to justify the existence of such a world.

As Gilbert Ryle and Co. were forever pointing out, this definition of an unobtainable “external world” is an empty tease. What is my “internal mental world” being contrasted with? Nothing. So, all of reality has been pointlessly relabelled as mental. Big achievement 🙂

We don’t “see” the electrical impulses in the primary visual cortex, or the dorsal and ventral streams, or any other area of the brain. We “see”, by default, those parts of the world that emit electromagnetic waves to which our eyes are sensitive.

All this fascinating neural activity is a correlate of the content of our visual domain, but it is not what we are seeing. It may well be a necessary precondition of seeing things, but it is not the subject of our sense of vision. Cooking is a precondition of my eating the tasty grilled aubergines. But I am not eating the cooker or the act of cooking when I east the aubergines, except in some amusing poetical sense.

No wonder natural scientists think philosophers love to invent non-problems, due to over indulgence in arbitrary redefinitions.

There is a real problem masquerading as the problem of the external world. That is how to validly infer such things as quasi-permanent objects, from the vast array of snapshots. How we logically categorise and order the world – now that is a real issue. The use of nested hierarchies as a measure of information content is one place to start.

Regards, andrea

Read Full Post »