last rites, first aid

A man walks into a backwoods bar in Kentucky and orders a cosmopolitan. The bartender looks the man over and says, “Not from ’round here, are ya?” “No” replies the man, “I’m from Providence, Rhode Island.” The bartender looks at him and says, “Well what do ya do in Providence?” “I’m a taxidermist,” says the man. The bartender looks bewildered, so the man explains, “I stuff and mount dead animals.” And the bartender stands back and hollers to the whole bar full of hilbillies, “It’s OK, boys! He’s one of us!”

So the man gets comfortable and sips his cocktail. And by and by he becomes peckish, and asks the bartender for a bite to eat. All the bartender can offer him is pork rinds, so that’ll have to do. So the man chomps down on those salty, crunchy pork rinds. And he likes them. In fact, he likes them so much that he gets a pork rind lodged in his throat. After a minute or so he is in real distress. So one of the barflies walks up to him and says, “Kin ya swallar?” The man shakes his head. And the hillbilly follows up, “Kin ya breathe?” The man shakes his head as he begins to turn blue. And the hillbilly reaches around the man’s waist, unbuckles his belt, drops his breeches, yanks down his briefs, and sticks his tongue up his ass crack. The man is so shocked that he has a violent spasm, which causes the pork rind to fly out of his mouth. As he begins to breathe again, he struggles to express his gratitude to the good Samaritan. And the hillbilly goes, “Hit don’t mean doodley squat. Ackshly, I’m much obliged to ye. Ya know, I’d heerd of that there ‘Hind Lick Maneuver’ but I ain’t niver had no chance to do it to anyone before!”

the rectification of names


子路曰:「衛君待子而為政,子將奚先?」
子曰:「必也正名乎!」
子路曰:「有是哉?子之迂也!奚其正?」
子曰:「野哉,由也!君子於其所不知,蓋闕如也。
名不正,則言不順;言不順,則事不成;
事不成,則禮樂不興;禮樂不興,則刑罰不中;刑罰不中,則民無所措手足故。
君子名之必可言也,言之必可行也。君子於其言,無所苟而已矣。」
Tsze-lu said, “The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order with you to administer the government. What will you consider the first thing to be done?”
The Master replied, “What is necessary is to rectify names.”
“So! indeed!” said Tsze-lu. “You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?”
The Master said, “How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.”
“If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.”
“When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish, punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.”
“Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just that in his words there may be nothing incorrect.”

— Confucius, Analects, Book XIII, Chapter 3, verses 1-7, translated by James Legge

…ὦ ἄριστε Κρίτων, τὸ μὴ καλῶς λέγειν οὐ μόνον εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦτο πλημμελές, ἀλλὰ καὶ κακόν τι ἐμποιεῖ ταῖς ψυχαῖς.
…for, noble Crito, rest assured that wrong words are not only undesirable in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil.

— Plato, Phaedo 115e

наука умеет много гитик

У меня здесь 2 чемодана книг и ни одной тряпки. Тряпки мне не нужны, а из книг хотелось бы иметь более или менее живописное описание природы и географии Центр. Азии, т.е. Монголии, Синцзяна и бассейна Хуан-Хэ. Вася, если тебе не трудно будет, сделай для меня экстрактные выписки; ведь ты как потамолог и лимнолог, наверно, имеешь книги по Тариму, Лоб-нору, Хуан-Хэ и монгольским озерам и рекам, а добавить климат, геоботанику, зоогеографию и т.п. несложно. Помнишь, ты мне давал справку по р. Или; так вроде этого. Дело в том, что я сейчас занимаюсь хуннами, а из геогр. литературы у меня для справок есть только ску[д]нейший Обручев и геологии у него больше чем географии. Хочу похвастаться: я, за это время, настолько вдумался в историю Азии, что моя диссертация теперь кажется мне юношеской работой. Но и я работаю больше для собственного удовольствия, чем для извлечения выгоды. Как ни жаль, а науку и выгоду совместить трудно.
    [По ж]енско-семейному вопросу прими мой совет.
    1) Ты сам [винов]ат, что не следовал народной мудрости: Всякую тварь на хуй пяль, Бог увидит — хорошую пошлёт. Птица была [у мен]я 32-я, и то я считаю, что мне повезло.
    2) Женщина [когда] хочет жить с мужчиной, старается, инстинктивно, стать [так]ой какой он хочет её видеть. Поэтому она, незаметно [для] себя и без усилий со стороны мужа, переделывается. [В]спомни: в Туруханске Наташа и Матрёна начали приобретать манеры дам. Конечно, это с них соскочило, как только мы расстались, но если-бы мы жили вместе?
    Однако следует помнить, что возможны любые неожиданности и не очень размякать. Женщины как лошади — любят чувствовать крепкую узду. При ухаживании не будь настойчив. Показывай, что ты в любую минуту готов бросить. И будь готов, как-бы это не было трудно. Женщина, чувствуя пренебрежение, начинает сама быть активной, а это ускоряет процесс. Если-же она не обращает на это внимания — бросай, ничего не выйдет. В любви как на войне — всегда будь настороже. Ты ещё достаточно молод, чтобы проделать всё это. Пусть первый, второй блин будут комками, даже это неизбежно, но может и наладится. Если-же ты ещё затянешь — махни рукой. А иного пути нет. Но при этом не бросай научных занятий. Женщина будет требовать от тебя времени, но от науки не отрывай для неё ничего. Она с этим примирится если любит и тем более если равнодушна. Я сообщаю тебе элементарные истины, но надо начинать, как в школе, с таблицы умножения, иначе ничего не получится.
    — Лев Николаевич Гумилёв — Василию Никифоровичу Абросову, 18 января 1955 г.
    Опубликовано в журнале “Мера”. СПб., 1994. N4.

sexual assault, my ass

The essential predicate for a charge of sexual assault of an adult is a lack of consent on part of the victim. Nothing in Charlotte Waters’ original complaint, which has been modestly removed from Reddit, but happily remains available via the Wayback Machine, even begins to allege that she had failed to consent to any sexual act, any photo opportunity, or any other aspect of her modeling encounter with Terry Richardson. Interestingly enough, as any journalist ought to know, actual malice as the essential predicate of liability for libel is defined as “knowledge that the information was false” or that it was published “with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not” (New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964)). Thus in failing to align his accusation of Terry Richardson with the content of published allegations against the latter, Justin Jones acts with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not, and therefore willfully commits libel on behalf of The Daily Beast.

chumps of the world, undefeated

Emily Bazelon’s impassioned assault on the First Amendment, made in the names, and on the behalves of, receptive parties in failed romantic relationships, publicly shamed by their former mates, characteristically misses its mark. If speech is actionable, its kind will always already have been chilled, e.g. by statutes that penalize libel or invasion of privacy. The problem with banning “revenge porn” is that in the typical instances its content is true and its subject’s rights to privacy will have been waived through her voluntary communication thereof, by word or by deed, to the alleged tortfeasors who subsequently disseminate it against, or regardless of, her will. Under these circumstances, anti-SLAPP statutes designed to penalize the filing of lawsuits that aim to curtail protected speech, will typically require the plaintiff to pay the defendant’s legal fees and costs upon the ensuing showing that her lawsuit is unlikely to succeed on its merits in view of its Constitutional protection. Put simply, a reasonable expectation of privacy is generally waived through its subject’s voluntary disclosure of the underlying facts to any other party not bound by the duty of confidentiality. And it gets worse: if the former recipient of your sexual ardor wronged you in a way whereby she may wrong others, e.g. by infecting you with an STD, or even by screwing around behind your back in a way that exposed you to the mere likelihood of contracting an STD, your public disclosure of these facts would not be subject to liability under the privacy statutes, in virtue of being of legitimate concern to the public. Arguably, you have a duty to disclose it the general public, in proportion with your good faith belief that your perfidious ex represents a danger to others.

A fine survey of the remains of privacy’s disclosure tort can be found here.

post-colonialist authorities

I thank the social media commentariat for clarifying that school slashings perpetrated in China by mad people, are providentially mitigated by good laws that forbid civilan gun ownership, curtail political dissent, subdue public assembly, ban weird religious worship, and harvest valuable organs of executed enemies of the state. But in light of my brief career as a dissident in a totalitarian state, using China as a moral or jurisprudential authority for honoring and upholding our Bill of Rights appears on a par with advocating sex with virgins as a cure for AIDS.

the advantages of sodomy over orthogenitalism

Methinks the homophiles are protesting too much by resolving to ignore the obvious charitable reading of Justice Scalia’s insistence on submitting law to moral scrutiny. Consider that their most compelling current jurisprudence calls for equal protection of homosexuals as distinguished by immutable characteristics of their sexual preferences. Suppose that tomorrow, psychiatrists declare the preferences of coprophagia, apotemnophilia, or kleptomania to be equally immutable. Would it be reasonable to demand that restaurants served excrements on par with conventional nutrients; that surgeons be compelled to amputate healthy limbs on their owners’ demand; or that bankers and shopkeepers surrendered their stock to anyone organically beholden to the advantages of theft over honest toil? Might it not make more sense to submit equal protection to moral judgments? Anyone who thinks this far-fetched is welcome to contemplate the immutability of schizophrenia as grounds for mandating equal treatment for its patients.

the leaky vessels of state

The best reason not to have sex in public is to avoid exposure to well-meaning second-guessers. Thus the late Robert Hughes ably illustrated the stupidity of judicial censure of sexual deviance:

Why so few [sodomy] convictions? Ernest Augustus Slade, who had been superintendent of the convict barracks at Hyde Park in Sydney from 1833 to 1834 (his resignation was forced by sexual scandal, though over a woman), testified that “among [the lower] class of convicts sodomy is as common as any other crime.” It was an ineradicable part of jail culture. But only about one case in thirty could be proven. Molested youths lodged complaints but then prevaricated in court; and other evidence tended to be vague, since “shirtlifters” were rarely caught in the act of buggery. “If you had it proved” Slade told the Molesworth Committee in 1838, “that men were found with their breeches down in secluded spots, and they stated that they had gone there to ease themselves, and upon examination it was found that they had not done so, what could have occurred?” But no jury would convict on such grounds. Out in the bush, the dreaded act became more obscure still, as there was nobody to watch the assigned convicts. Bishop Ullathorne believed that sodomy was less frequent among the shepherds, who tended to live alone, than among stockmen, “a much more dissolute set” who practiced “a great deal of that crime” and even taught it to the formerly innocent Aborigines. And if the Man from Snowy River’s convict forebear was not content with the brusque embraces of Jacky-Jacky, there were always sheep. “As a juryman,” one witness told the committee, ”I have had opportunities of hearing many trials for unnatural offences, with animals particularly. … I think they are much more common than in any other country inhabited by the English.” “That is, among the convicts?” interjected one committee member. “Yes,” said the witness, dispelling the thought of the colonial gentry practicing abominations on their own merinos.

—Robert Hughes, The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia’s Founding, Vintage Books, 1988, p. 267

Would that the indicters of WikiLeaking condoms took heed of rapidly dwindling chances of securing a jury conviction of Julian Assange.