Various & Sundry, 4/8/15

– The Hugo Awards have presented us with a rather odd cultural moment, and one which – for once – conservatives are winning.

To counteract the voting bias, Correia organized a campaign called “Sad Puppies”—because, he explains, “boring message fiction is the leading cause of Puppy Related Sadness.” Which gives you a small sampling of the kind of goofy, irreverent humor with which the campaign has been conducted. The idea was simply to suggest a slate of authors Correia thought were likely to be overlooked or slighted because of their views—and to counteract that effect by lobbying in their favor.

But then things got out of hand. This year, the Sad Puppies campaign (and a related slate of recommendations called Rabid Puppies) swept the field. The response was a total meltdown among the leftist elites who had assumed, in previous years, that they (and their favorite publisher, Tor) basically owned the Hugos. So they did what the Left always does: they smeared everyone who disagrees with them as racists.

– Fr. Z links to a video which helps explain why more men don’t go to Church. Fortunately I do not have to endure such things at my parish.

Oh look at that – more doubt is being placed on another set of government dietary guidelines.

Moreover, according to studies published in recent years by pillars of the medical community, the low levels of salt recommended by the government might actually be dangerous.

“There is no longer any valid basis for the current salt guidelines,” said Andrew Mente, a professor at McMaster University in Ontario and one of the researchers involved in a major study published last year by the New England Journal of Medicine. “So why are we still scaring people about salt?”’

More salt on my bacon, please.

– Yeah, Charlie Cooke’s a hypocrite. You know what? I guess I am as well because I pretty much agree with everything he says here.

I am an opponent of the death penalty, and I have for a long time now been happy to argue why. But I fear that I am also something of a hypocrite on the matter, in that my heart and my head are often in two different places. Like many people, when I hear the news that a serial rapist/murderer has been killed, something in my gut says, “good!” And then I quickly check myself, and I remember why I’m against it, and I recall that I really don’t trust the state the make these sorts of decisions. It is always important to look to our better angels when our emotions run away with our brains. Upon hearing the news that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had been found guilty on all thirty of the counts that were brought against him, however, I have had trouble rebounding from my initial, intuitive, instinct. On paper, I hope that he is not sentenced to death. But if he is, will I care that much? Meh.

– The Kennedy (with some very rare and exceptions) has done as much as any to guarantee the deaths millions of unborn children. I guess it makes sense for one of them to get to work on the born.

When Kennedy asked the crowd of a few hundred viewers how many parents had a child injured by vaccines, numerous hands went up. “They get the shot, that night they have a fever of a hundred and three, they go to sleep, and three months later their brain is gone,” Kennedy said. “This is a holocaust, what this is doing to our country.”

Interesting analogy from someone who seeks to imprison climate change “deniers.”

More to explorer


  1. Kay is the name of a new Catholic that I sponsored this year. She’s a convert from the Lutheran Church. We shared in a glorious celebration at Holy Rosary. Nearly three hours long.

    I couldn’t imagine what Kay would of done when the three ring circus kicked in as it did in Fr. Z’s clip. My guess is a slap in my face followed by a quick exit.

    No wonder men don’t go to Mass anymore….perfectly said!

  2. Interesting piece over at Crisis on the role of abstract reasoning in the culture wars:

    For decades people all over the world have been doing better and better on test questions that emphasize the most abstract forms of reasoning. The accumulated changes from this so-called Flynn Effect are large enough to suggest that most nineteenth century people would be classified as mentally retarded by today’s much higher standards.
    Other comparisons, for example between popular literature then and now, make that suggestion ridiculous. But if overall intelligence remains constant or nearly so, any improvement in purely abstract reasoning must be coming at the expense of other abilities. And that appears so. The improvement in scores corresponds to a tendency to think less by reference to concrete narratives and more by reference to abstract analysis. That doesn’t make people smarter, but it does mean they think about things differently. People today are less literary, less religious, and more visually and technically oriented. They view the world less as a complex of concrete functional arrangements like family, community, and a natural order that we are part of and must respect, and more as a collection of resources available for whatever purposes each of us may have.

  3. This what’s kind of funny from Cooke’s words on your link:

    that there is something unavoidably ugly about procedural death, and that societies that choose to kill when they are not explicitly forced to do so will soon come to undervalue human life and 3) that, as history shows, it is inherently dangerous to invest the state with such awesome power. These lattermost two are crucial, clearly. But they are ultimately subjective value judgments. The federal government has executed precisely three people since 1963. Do I think that adding a particularly egregious name to that list will do much to damage the American conception of life?

    Read more at:

    Here’s the real question though: Are either of those true?

    When we look at countries today – heck when we look at states and communities – how does death penalty and life value line up? Last I saw, nations, states etc that had outlawed the DP were ones that fully supported abortion, euthanasia, and practically any other measure of life value. So while the idea that DP == less life value SEEMS logical, the evidence appears to point otherwise.

    For the second point, well just look at it again. When the state stops executing, do we see a coresponding expansion of freedom and loss of power to it? Who’s more free? Texas or New York? Are Americans more free now since only 3 people have been executed by the feds, or were we more free before 63? Again the logic is sound, but is the evidence there? I’m not convinced, and why this is so, may be just one of those paradoxes of life.

  4. Good point, Nate– suggests that not all gov’t killing is the same.
    I can understand “I don’t trust the state with this power, even though in theory they have the moral right to do it;” I can’t understand “I don’t trust the state with this punishment because it will highly tend to lead to lead to massive over-application.”
    Sure, there’s more evidence for death penalty abuses, because a society that can exist without killing those who do great harm to its members is a pretty modern thing.
    The Federalist story about Sadpuppies is pretty good, especially compared to the wave of oddly similar stories that came out the day after ComiCon ended– it only mistakenly implies that Sad Puppies is an outgrowth of #gamergate, which would be hard since Sad Puppies is about two years older than #gamergate. The folks who were horrified that bullying gamers didn’t work, and neither did lying about them in news that they don’t even read, have come down on the Sad Puppies thing, though.
    (As best I can tell, Sad Puppies does have more legal action taken than all of GamerGate, though– one of the guys that was horrifically libeled by Entertainment Weekly is going to take legal action. There was talk about taking action against the anti-GamerGate folks in the UK, but I’m not sure if anybody actually did it.)
    The organized attacks on Sad Puppies sure had an effect on me– I bought a membership and I’m voting, most likely for a Sad Puppy. I got enough of the “this story says so much IMPORTANT stuff, it doesn’t need to be good writing!” stuff in school.
    I know the salt guidelines are dangerous. They nearly killed my dad when I was a kid.
    A doctor flipped out at his salt intake, mom changed her cooking style, and he got heat stroke for the first time since the Army in a matter of days– thank God he figured out what was going on in time to stop and get off of the heavy machinery he was operating.
    I am really, really sick of getting medical advice that is good in specific cases applied to everyone— destroy the blinkin’ Procrustean bed!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: