Re: Is Fantasy Football Immoral Unless You Imagine Paying The Players Really Well?

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It's all in the game, yo.


Posted by: Anatoly | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 5:40 AM
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Me: "I've copped in open-air markets in low-rise projects like that about a million times."
I'd been around too many low-rise projects when I was kid not to want to avoid drugs and said projects. Ugh.
Me: "I would so do that if I were in that situation. I'm really not a very moral person when it comes right down to it; I'm just restrained by fear and sloth."
I would so totally not do that because it would be like, stealing dude. Yes, I know, it's illegally-acquired money, but it's not MY illegally acquired money. Likewise, I return extra shopping carts in parking lots and trash off the street. I feel compelled to do so.
I think we all know Ogged is one fastidious motherfucker.
It occured to me reading this that you could totally update the Odd Couple: they're philosophers! Sharing an apartment! And one's neat and fastidious and yuppiedfied and totally gay, and the other one is a cocksucking manly man! And then I realized that they have like totally done that with that show with Charlie Sheen and that weasely guy, whatshisname, Jon Cryer.

And then I realized that meant that FL is the gay Charlie Sheen. Except taller. ('Now Supersized!')

and so is reduced to fantasizing that they give him a chaste embrace.
I can imagine casual sex with Monica Belluci, but the odds are, I couldn't go through with it. I have that (old skool) thing about exploiting women (sue me), and also, I couldn't have sex with somebody I didn't trust, and it takes a long time before I'd trust anybody. I lost my virginity at 12 to a fat (really really FAT) girl who was four years older. I was traumatized, as it was... unpleasant.
Where do you fall on the Alameida/Ogged scale of cheerful amorality, O ye commenters?
On the other hand, I do like fair fights, and also, if I can be convinced something has to be done, then I am totally ruthless in the prosecution of such an endeavour. ('Friends help you move; real friends help you move bodies.') If somebody has to die, for the greater good of mankind, or whatever, I can do it. Won't want to, but I can do it, and none of this warning shit.

m, if you're going to play the game, then you're morally compromised and failure doesn't improve your moral standing


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:44 AM
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I figured a project mope like you would say that, anatoly.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:57 AM
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I'm far off the end of the scale on your side. Absolutely nothing gets in the way of a pleasing fantasy. Given the position in real-life I'd have an advantage 'cause I've had the rules for Evil Overlords completely internalized from the pre-teens. From what I've been able to put together, early childhood was a less than happy time.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:58 AM
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""I've copped in open-air markets in low-rise projects like that about a million times.""

One of my neighbours as a teenager was a heroin dealer. Several of my friends from high school dealt everything-other-than-heroin. My 85 year old grandmother, who lived in of the most drug-ravaged 'projects' in western europe was mugged and had her arm broken by a junkie. I generally have a fairly harsh view of drug dealers and drug consumers.*

Junkies, in particularly, are usually wankers.**

"I would so do that if I were in that situation. I'm really not a very moral person when it comes right down to it; I'm just restrained by fear and sloth."

If I was a cop, I'd not be stealing the money -- I'm pretty fastidious about the doing of 'duty' and am, on the whole, fairly 'moral' by choice and inclination. Since I'm not a cop, on the other hand, the actual me might be tempted to take it.

The chaste embrace stuff, on the other hand. Meh.

* other than weed, which seems largely harmless except for making a lot of people into credulous fools.

** No slagging-off of the noble alameida intended.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:00 AM
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that's OK ttaM. no offense taken. people who are the customers at open air drug markets are helping make that area worse, and junkies are usually assholes.

I support decriminalization of all drugs, although I recognize more people would become addicted to drugs, over and above the number that are hooked now. nonetheless the knock-on effects of turning the tap that runs african-americans into jails like fucking water--that alone would be enough in the other side of the scales. in addition to which there'd be much less crime, the police could do something fucking useful for a change, there wouldn't be the DEA, and nations like colombia could be freed from the yoke of endemic violence. this shit is win-win, which is why I'm going to be so great as a campaign blogger.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:09 AM
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Yeah, I'm also for decriminalization. Perhaps with prescription heroin for junkies -- as was common practice in the UK until the 60s.

I think actual junkies are wankers and a total fucking blight but I wouldn't deal with them by harsher criminal sanctions* or punitive law and order measures.

* for drug use and possession, I mean. I'd want their arses metaphorically kicked for the concomitant criminal behaviour that also goes along with heroin use, though. Burglary, muggings, etc.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:15 AM
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Wait, didn't Ogged engage in drive-by attacks on random strangers with fire extinguishers? That's worse than buying smack in an open-air market.


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:26 AM
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7: Didn't you guys ditch the prescription heroin stuff because it stuck you with a bunch of junkies hanging around pharmacies?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:37 AM
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didn't Ogged engage in drive-by attacks on random strangers

Right, it doesn't make sense to put me on the sweetness and light end of the scale. I try hard to be moral and care a lot about it, but I have a bit of a predilection for cruelty.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:40 AM
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Primum non nocere

1. Scoring in the open air is a bad thing to do, but if I was in that sort of market it'd be fear and sloth that stopped me, not ethics.

2. Not fantasizing about people who are out of reach is batshit insane - what else are you meant to do about it? If you tell them your fantasies, then you're a bad person.

3. I wouldn't skim the stash if I was a cop, because doing a job right is important, and that would be part of it. But in similar predicaments I might judge differently. I was once child minding for some people and the kid found 1/2 oz. of good hash on the landing outside their flat. I kept it and asked them if it was theirs when they got back, but they gave me a lecture on the evils of drugs.

So I smoked it,


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:42 AM
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9: True, but there was also a lot of pressure from over the water.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:43 AM
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11.2 gets it exactly right.

So if ogged has a predilection for cruelty, was yesterday's thread a cry for help or a cry for assistance?

I am more or less on the sweetness and light end, which I'd chalk up 50/50 to morals and laziness/fear/etc. It makes me cringe to see a liked white-hat do something bad on TV because I want them to keep their pure nature but in real life I tend to want to forgive the small acts of desperation quickly because, hey, we've all been broke before.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:50 AM
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Where do you fall on the Alameida/Ogged scale of cheerful amorality

Everybody already knows my answer to this.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:51 AM
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Is the subtext of this post that we should be preparing to break you out of jail when Husband X has you locked up?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:53 AM
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If you found a bag with $10,000 in cash in the back of a taxi, would you (a) give it to the cabdriver (b) take it to the police or (c) keep it?
That may be the toughest cheerful amoral question to ask of would-be noble souls.


Posted by: Adam Ash | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:53 AM
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My life sometimes seems to me to be a continuous process of discovering that what I might have thought a- or im-moral doesn't in fact bother me much. And that the morality I find matters inheres in other things, and is much more situational. And that my first glance or a priori sense of what's immoral is often motivated by fear or timidity or unfamiliarity.

Having learned this lesson often enough to be quite careful about judging, I do sometimes usettle people by refusing to judge. Although the Gospels are full of the specific injunction not to judge, which actually gave me quite a bit of support and justification when I was younger, refusing to judge and choosing not to shun can make you into a suspicious character.

Then there's the "lusted in his heart" passage, and how it should be interpreted. I remember thinking Jimmy Carter's idea, if that was what he really thought and wasn't just using the expression conventionally, was very different from mine and in fact stupid.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:55 AM
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Huh. I try very hard to be moral, but I have what I suspect is a quite different idea of "morality" than ogged. The fantasizing about chaste embraces thing is crazy talk, but I'm very against stealing, etc. There were a couple times when some friends and I got undercharged at restaurants and I insisted that we right the error, much to some's annoyance. I never attempted to order or purchase alcohol before I was 21 (although I drank at home), but I have consumed illegal drugs. I guess it's not so much morality that drives me, but some ridiculous idea about "fairness." I don't like to do things that I feel are unfair to other people, or that I would feel unfair if done by me to others.

But, as they say, life's not fair.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:20 AM
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Aren't open air markets in general a bit overpriced compared to the out of town megacentres? I bought some chutney at an open air farmer's market on a housing estate and this was certainly the case; I can't imagine that the economics of drugs would be all that different.

I am always wary of people who say that they wouldn't take the money. In general, people who say that they don't ever take advantage, don't, until they do.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:33 AM
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Junkies still hang around pharmacies in the UK. That's a load of bollocks, frankly, if it was ever used as a justification for preventing the prescription of heroin.

If you've ever lived in a dodgy area in the UK -- like parts of, say, Glasgow -- you'll find the pharmacies largely dominated by scrofulous junkies queuing for their methadone.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:34 AM
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There were a couple times when some friends and I got undercharged at restaurants and I insisted that we right the error, much to some's annoyance

I've done that too. Sometimes the server can be embarrassingly effusive, as if they can't believe such a thing. Most just say, "Oh! Thank you." Which is about right.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:36 AM
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I'd like to think I wouldn't take the money, but I probably would.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:38 AM
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And I'm largely with m.leblanc on the fairness thing, in 18.

Which is no suprise. The golden rule isn't exactly a new moral concept.

I do try to take it fairly seriously though. It's hard for me to think of times when I willing fucked other people over. If undercharged in restaurants or caf├ęs I always pay the proper amount.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:39 AM
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I am quite close to m. leblanc on the Alameida-ogged scale. The last time I bought printer ink, the cashier at the office store failed to scan one of the cartridges. I pointed it out to her so she could ring it up. I'm not sure I see the fairness-morality distinction, though.

I am also like IDP in the refusing-to-judge department. I likewise find that this trait can be quite annoying to others.

I no longer don't take illegal drugs. Partly because I had my fill when I was younger.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:46 AM
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I'd probably pocket that money in a heartbeat.

I'd be leery of becoming a cop because I've got a streak in me that would want to start taking certain matters into my own hands. Best to avoid that temptation.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:46 AM
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I would take any possible opportunity to get something for free from a giant amoral corporation, unlike My Alter Ego. But not from one of my fellow humans.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:52 AM
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I would take any possible opportunity to get something for free from a giant amoral corporation, unlike My Alter Ego. But not from one of my fellow humans.

And your fellow human who worked for said corporation and would get chewed out or her wages docked because her till didn't balance at the end of the day?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:56 AM
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I shouldn't have said "unlike My Alter Ego".


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:57 AM
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Random 10 grand in a paper bag, not somebody's wallet? I would totally take it. I've actually done something similar--the wife and I stumbled across a roll of bills--$170--in the parking lot of a store we'd just left. We scooped it up and had a seriously *nice* dinner out that night. But if there was a name attached to it, I'd totally return the money.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:57 AM
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Awesome Word Of The Day is: "scrofulous"


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:58 AM
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28: Why not?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 8:59 AM
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(but if the cashier just forgets to ring it up...it doesn't lead to an imbalance in the till, right? The till has no idea the printer cartridge existed. It's just as if the item had been lost or stolen.)


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:00 AM
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19: I dunno; I'd say that different people tend to take advantage in different ways, and the people to watch out for are not the ones who are unmoved by a common temptation but the ones who claim to be unmoved by any temptation. I can't, for example, imagine keeping a large amount of money found in a cab--what if someone really needed that money and they were sitting around in misery with their life in fragments now that they'd lost it? What if it were even-more-laden-than-usual with cocaine traces, or counterfeit? And I would second-guess myself every time while spending it, so it wouldn't even be fun. I mean, seriously, although I've never had the chance to turn down a bag of free money, I've actually not kept several valuable found things that I wanted to keep, pretty much because I felt it was wrong.

But I take advantage of people all the time through laziness and my glibness-relative-to-many-activists--activists generally think my ideas are better than they are because my vocabulary is generally more flexible than theirs and because I know how to modulate my voice to sound convincing. I do far less work at the bookstore where I volunteer than people think I do, for example, because I talk a good game--and I usually skip out on boring things like mopping the floor even though I know that the mopping will be done by the already-hardest-working volunteers, the very people who need a break.

Laziness, both physical and intellectual, is my vice. I'd say that though tempted to greed, I'm usually not tempted very strongly and so generally don't act greedily. And most of the things I want are cheap and low-key, so there isn't much sort of knock-on effect greed either.

I think Ogged had better reconsider his moral scrupulousness about sexual fantasy, though, because I'm probably the only one posting here who also is unwilling to fantasize about unavailable people, and the fact that we share this scruple suggests to me that something is very, very wrong. Since I'm the one who's not fun, I think I get dibs on this particular sexual anxiety, and Ogged will just have to loosen up.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:00 AM
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31: I don't want to start arguing with one person in general (except BitchPhD). I prefer to have a 35- or 40-sided argument in which people either don't take sides or are unaware of who they are siding with.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:05 AM
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Ogged and Frowner should totally hook up.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:09 AM
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I can remember finding I couldn't phantasize about a girl in high school because she was friendly to me. Sex objects had to be objects indeed at that stage.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:10 AM
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34: Feel free to single me out for purposes of either agreement or disagreement. I don't take it personally.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:10 AM
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It's ok Frowner, I'm notably no fun.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:12 AM
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38: But Ogged, you were my Other, and I liked it that way! Don't take away my comforting illusions!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:14 AM
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I can remember finding I couldn't phantasize about a girl in high school because she was friendly to me.

You weirdo, that friendliness makes it easier to convince yourself that all is possible.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:15 AM
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Sorry, Frowner; you and I sound a lot alike, except for you being all uptight about what's said in comment threads.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:20 AM
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I've outgrown it. Still, it seems that when I was a teenager "bitches" were much easier to have phantasies about. That's probably pretty mainstream, especially for that time and place—mid-sixties suburbia.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:21 AM
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I'm all for the decriminalization of drugs.

In college the soda vending machine door broke somehow, or was left unlocked, and when this was discovered, sodas were carried off. I explained to a friend why I was not participating such that he put his own loot back. (I had not, however, particularly, chastised anyone else.)

I recall him claiming that he can't even fantasize about having sex with people he knows in real life if some real-life obstacle exists

The only time I'm not like that I wish I was, because it makes me feel terribly guilty.

So slightly to the Alameida side of ogged? I guess that puts me in Ocean Beach or out by the Farralon islands. . .


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:22 AM
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Catherine recently found an iPod Nano in a taxi. She gave it to the taxi driver, thinking (probably correctly) that it was most likely that the owner would figure out where it was lost and call the taxi company. In that situation I would've kept it (not trusting other people to to the right thing) and contacted the cab company and posted notice on Craigslist. That situation calls for a full-faith effort to find the owner, executed with reluctance.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:24 AM
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Laziness is totally my vice too. Actually, more than laziness---I can work very, very hard under certain circumstances. More like constant, minute-to-minute procrastination. And I'm also incredibly careless about certain important things.

I used to think that since I'm generally fairly kind and honest and law-abiding and respectful those weren't such big deals, but of course laziness and procrastination eat at one's ability to do the rest of it, so they really are.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:28 AM
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I got undercharged at restaurants and I insisted that we right the error

Ordinarily, I do too. But depending on how loyal I am to the business, how I've been treated there, the size of the operation, the amount involved, whether I'm likely to return, etc., I might not always do so.

Depending on the circumstances--unidentified, etc., I'd probably take 100 dollars that I found somewhere. I almost certainly wouldn't take 10.000 from the back of a cab--I'd be afraid that it was marked, drug money, etc. But in a chaotic situation: disaster, war, etc., I'd probably be much more likely to do so ("I'm talking about millions in Kuwati Bullion.")

Which probably explains where all those billions in Iraq went.


Posted by: Paul | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:32 AM
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Every word of 45 goes for me as well.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:32 AM
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44: That's pretty admirable. But does your distrust of other people specifically apply to the cab driver for some reason?

Here's a practical moral dilemma I was discussing with someone the other day. . .apparently on their way to catch the train they noticed something on the ground but didn't really stop to investigate. It was only several feet later that their brain realized it was a cell phone--a Razr--and then as then after they crossed the gate it rang. So there wasn't much they could do anyway, and someone else probably noticed it too---but---what would you do if you found a cell phone on the ground? My instinct would be to take Armsmasher like measures, I would appreciate it if someone would do the same for me---but another persome seemed to think it could be dangerous somehow--that a dropped cellphone is somehow more suspicious than similar appliances, and might have a a criminal element to it. I know cellphones can set off bombs and I can conceive of leaving a cellphone somewhere to arrange a pickup but. . .? Tinfoil hat or not?


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:35 AM
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As might be expected of a robot, I'm extremely amoral. Except when I can easily imagine the person hurt by my actions. Since I tend to be less sympathetic in general, this probably slightly raises my level of malfeasance. However, I'm not nearly imaginative (or active) enough to take advantage of this, and so I don't actually end up doing much of anything blameworthy. In fact, I don't even have any anecdotes to share, because I can't remember the last time I faced a moral dilemma. You'll have to trust that this is because I haven't encountered any such situations, and not because I approached them like a sociopathic robotic killer.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:35 AM
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I don't let people give me too much change by mistake in stores. I have found someone's wallet, taken the money, and turned the rest in to campus police before. this was long ago when I needed lots of ready cash to buy drugs. I don't think it was a very good thing to do. I have only ever shoplifted one thing: a copy of the enchiridion in translation. that's just how I roll. but really, in some hypothetical looting situation, I see myself stealing shit right and left.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:37 AM
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A couple of years ago, my daughter left her cellphone on the train. We gave it up for lost, but a day or so later we got a call—after we had cancelled the accounts and all, the call was landline— from the woman who had picked it up. We drove, my daughter and I, down to the near West side to pick it up. We didn't want to insult her by offering a reward, so we took her a bouquet of flowers.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:40 AM
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This has nothing to do with this thread, but someone emailed me a link, and it's funny:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Khrpy4V0-U4

Also, I could see myself doing the 'millions in Kuwaiti bullion' thing. Robbing a faceless enemy. But anything where ordinary people are on the receiving end? No. And knowing the service industry, even when you think you are getting one over on the megacorp, you're probably not. Instead, some hapless employee is in the shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:41 AM
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a copy of the enchiridion in translation

The old pamphlet version, known to generations of students, that Admiral Stockdale was able to remember verbatim while a prisoner in Hanoi?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:43 AM
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Someone once returned my lost cellphone. Indeed, on another occasion two girls returned my whole bookbag, keys, passport and completely untouched wallet by using my cell phone to call a friend of mine and asking how to contact me. ( I gave them $20 each, which was all I could afford.) So I'd usually go out of my way to return a cell phone...I tend to think that the hypothetical terrorists probably have a better plan than relying on a "lost" cellphone to detonate a bomb, and that the odds of the hypothetical terrorists planning to detonate a bomb and then losing the detonating device are pretty small.

Shoplifting--well, I don't see that much wrong with a little shoplifting (although I've never done any myself). As long as it's fairly untraceable stuff, so that no other individual gets blamed in your place, and as long as we're talking about the kind of large sinister chain that gets a 400% mark-up on sweatshop goods from the Marianas Islands. And honestly, if someone really, genuinely needs something, I'd say most kinds of shoplifting are okay. I had a friend who stole her college textbooks because she was already working and still couldn't afford to buy them, for example, and I'd say that her need for a college degree to get out of small-town Missouri trumped the college bookstore's need for one more sale.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:46 AM
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Last week, at a bar I never intend to return to, the not particularly harried bartender forgot to overcharge me for a drink. (She forgot to charge me the regular too-high price, that is.) I went back to our table with it, but then returned and paid. I'm such a fool.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:47 AM
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I also once let incredibly stupid such considerations prevent me from sexing a hot dancer.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:48 AM
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"Wasn't it Rousseau who claimed that sexual fantasies are a kind of mental rape in so far as the object of fantasy hasn't given you permission to use their mental image in this tawdry way?"

Did Rousseau really say this? I associate the sentiment with Adrienne Rich -- I remember a line of hers that went something like "I didn't choose to be a masturbator's fix", which I recall troubled my conscience slightly.

And how far does this scrupulousness in sex fantasies go? Could Ogged not imagine having sex with a celebrity if is she was married or Republican? Or does it only extend to people Ogged actually knows and interacts with?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:48 AM
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Once I found a brand new copy of the AACR2 at a Barnes & Noble, priced at like, 5 dollars. I bought it and took it across town to the other Barnes & Noble, where I exchanged it for 50 dollars in store credit.


Posted by: Paul | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:49 AM
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But! Once I lost my passport in Greece, and a nice Greek man contacted the embassy and gave it back to me.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:49 AM
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48: Actually, it's not the driver I distrust so much as the lost-and-found bin. Especially for transportation companies, I assume that the L&F is a black hole. However, someone who loses an iPod is probably going to check the cab company but might not think to check Craigslist.

But I don't think 44 is especially admirable, since I'm hoping to profit in the end from another's loss. I'm much more sensitive to matters of propriety than morality.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:50 AM
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55. "paid" s/b "asked her what time her shift finished"


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:50 AM
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A few years ago the candy machine where I work was broken in such a way that M&Ms, normally sixty cents a bag, were free. Somehow someone in our office discovered that if you put your sixty cents in and pressed the button, the machine would keep the money, but if you simply pressed the button before inserting any coins, hey presto! free M&Ms.

I am not proud of this, but I enjoyed many a bag of free M&Ms over the next few weeks, before someone finally caught on and repaired the machine. Looking back I realize that what I had been doing was no better than swiping candy from a store, something I have never done and would never do.

I still buy from that machine from time to time. Every so often it shortchanges me. I regard these episodes as karmic payback for the times I stole from it.

On the other hand, years before that (and this was when I was using drugs), I found $60 on the floor of a deli and turned it in to the store manager, who said he'd notify the police. A few weeks later the police called me to tell me that no one had claimed the money, and that as far as they were concerned, it was mine. I went to the police station and they handed me the bills.


Posted by: Anthony Cartouche | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:50 AM
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that Admiral Stockdale was able to remember verbatim while a prisoner in Hanoi?

Labs posted about that here.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:51 AM
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Once I lost my passport in Greece, and a nice Greek man contacted the embassy and gave it back to me.

IMLE, Greek people are more honest that Brits (can't speak for Americans). I was once chased almost a quarter of a mile by an old lady in black at Mycenae, who gave me my wallet just as I boarded the coach, after which I wouldn't have been able to do anything about it.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:55 AM
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Hmm. I have a vestigial m.blanc sense of morality. A rough sense of "do unto others" used to be quite important to me, but the realization that no one quite agrees with me (or anyone else) about what's fair has somehow enervated that justification. I tend to follow the same proscriptions as before, using the rule as a rough guide, but the justification is mostly personal comfort, and I want others to follow the same rules mostly because I want to be around other people who are sufficiently predictable for me to feel comfortable. I'm more of a "that'd be wrong for me" guy, these days, I think.

I try not to fantasize about unavailable people who I don't know. I'm not sure how to distinguish such fantasizing is from installing the creepy secret camera in the other person's bedroom, if you know the camera won't be discovered. I find that creepy, I'd be uncomfortable around someone who did it, and I'd call it "wrong," but if you can get away with it and there's no harm, I can see the "who cares?" position.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:56 AM
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58: Do non-librarians know what AACR2 is?
Are you a librarian, Paul?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:56 AM
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I was in grad school when Stockdale's piece ran, I think in Atlantic, might have been Harper's. I can remember reading it while looking out one of those narrow Regenstein stacks windows on to 57th.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:56 AM
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65: "unavailable people I do know"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:56 AM
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A friend of mine found a wallet in his front yard. It turned out that the owner was a stripper, and (oh, the pr0n theme was lost on none of us) she invited him to the club for a reward. No good deed goes unpunished: He didn't go, yet his girlfriend needled him anyway.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:56 AM
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I try not to fantasize about unavailable people who I don't know. I'm not sure how to distinguish such fantasizing is from installing the creepy secret camera in the other person's bedroom, if you know the camera won't be discovered.

This seems so weird to me. The distinguishing feature is that the fantasizing is pretend and features only your own made-up version of the person.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 9:58 AM
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yet his girlfriend needled him anyway

"Explain to me again how you came by a stripper's wallet. You found it in our front yard? You expect me to believe that? And even if I did, why would a stripper lose her wallet in our yard, huh?"


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:00 AM
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I trust the Alameidas of the world more than the self-declared good people--those who doubt their morality, and will say so outright, are more to be trusted in a pinch, I suspect.

I'll keep things I find, though I feel guilty about having found a toy bat at the security melee in Atlanta, with PK, and keeping it for him, because he was so upset about the highly unlikely possibility that the child who'd lost it would come back for it. Bad mama. A lost cell phone I wouldn't keep; I'd call around and try to find the owner. I have a weakness about "found" money, though I won't short a cashier or a waiter. But an unscanned ink cartridge? Yay!

A lot of my morality (or lack thereof) is the result of fear, including the anxiety of simply doing the unexpected. I don't mind giving panhandlers money, but I seldom do because it requires a small adjustment in my plans to pause and dig out my wallet. If I'm sitting around at a bus terminal, though, I'll totally hand over $5 or $10. I've also always been too much of a chicken to try any drugs other than pot once or twice, but I don't care what other people do. Though I tend to be uncomfortable around folks who seem kinda crazy. The one time I shoplifted was when I couldn't find what I wanted to buy except as a small part of a much larger, more expensive package of crap, so I slit open the cellophane and picked out the thing I wanted and stuck it in my pocket.

If you tell them your fantasies, then you're a bad person.

This, however, is insane. Everyone likes flattery.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:01 AM
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I like my thoughts to line up as much as possible with my goals and practices. I know this is silly. And yet, fantasizing about people who I tend to think would not be flattered by the attention--well, I can't do that. I think of the shame and distress I would feel if they were all, "Ew, Frowner is attracted to me? Might as well go jump in the sea and die now, since I can sink no lower on land."

And I feel that wishing an unavailable person were available is akin to wishing that their really-existing happiness would end.

Thought is not free chez Frowner.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:04 AM
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The distinguishing feature is that the fantasizing is pretend and features only your own made-up version of the person.

Not really. Fantasy and film are both mediation: versions of the person.

You're totally imagining that camera in your shower!


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:04 AM
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Yeah, some of these proscriptions on fantasy are a bit nuts--you all make me nervous that you believe in thought-crimes. My own problem is more an inability to fantasize fantastically, less than moral qualms--if you go straight to sexing your married friend, that's just lazy. Make a plausible scenario to make it possible, dammit! But there's no reason to think that fantasizing about someone somehow harms the object of the fantasy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:04 AM
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I'm largely like m.leblanc, in that I have a strong moral sense relating to fairness and not harming others, but not a very strong sense relating to things that other people worry about, like sex.

In the past, I have also held conventional morality and law in low regard, and prided myself on violating it. Part of maturing has been realizing that a lot of conventional morality and law effectively promotes fairness and not harming others.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:06 AM
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I'm much more sensitive to matters of propriety than morality.

This pretty much sums me up.

I've lost my purse and/or wallet more than once and had it returned intact--once via mail from a McD's I stopped at on a road trip, with a few hundred bucks in cash in the wallet no less. Most people are pretty honest about that kind of stuff. If something is easily traceable (a wallet with an i.d., a cell phone), I'd return it. Otherwise, well, what are you gonna do? Windfall!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:06 AM
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My own problem is more an inability to fantasize fantastically, less than moral qualms. . . . Make a plausible scenario to make it possible, dammit!

Dear god, I thought I was the only person who had this stupid hangup. I rely a lot on sudden earthquakes or armageddon-type scenarios.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:07 AM
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in some hypothetical looting situation

Oh, see, that's different. The 50% of me that's moral might still object a little, very quietly, but the 50% of me that's good by way of fear of recompense would go right out the window in the name of survival. If society were gone tomorrow and I didn't think there were a chance anyone's business would suffer because businesses are pretty much a done deal for the foreseeable future I'd totally be that guy running by in the background with a boom box barely at rest atop the shopping cart while a reporter talks about the chaos. I would totally be taking non-survival goods I simply wanted, too, if I could.

My attitude towards reports of "looting" after Katrina were much the same: a person smashing in the door of an effectively abandoned CVS to get medicine, water and food is not "looting." I believe what they were doing is called "surviving."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:08 AM
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I rely a lot on sudden earthquakes or armageddon-type scenarios.

Lazy.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:08 AM
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75, 78. I should start a business writing fantasy scenarios. Hell, that's the easy part.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:09 AM
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72: Hey, this reminds me: I have shoplifted. Our local thrift store went from putting the vintage earrings on little cards for 99 cents each to putting them in little bags of three pairs for about $5, and they'd always mix the good ones with the cheap, broken ones. So I've rearranged bags such that I got a bag of only good ones. And one time I wanted a piece of vintage china but it was $15.99 and it was chipped and mass produced, so I just left it in my cart instead of getting it rung up with my other stuff and then cleverly moved it into my bag before leaving the store.

I sometimes trust people who say they don't take advantage, but this is because my father is the Most Scrupulous Man Ever, so I've seen an example. I know that this is part morality, part arrogance and partly his own personal hang-ups, but I see no reason to doubt that there are others pretty much like him.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:09 AM
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80: I know, and actually these scenarios often fail because of my inner critic.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:10 AM
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82: Oh yeah, I shoplifted a pair of cheap earrings once, too. They made my ears hurt, though, and I later made kind of a point of spending money at that shop, out of guilt.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:12 AM
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83: You need to go with more way out fantasy situations, where you can right whole new backstories for yourself and the object of your desire. You can be knights, or Olympic gymnasts, or something.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:14 AM
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But there's no reason to think that fantasizing about someone somehow harms the object of the fantasy.

But what if the very reason the plausible scenarios have been removed is that the object has been informed and declined? Once they know. . .seems a little. . .something. Of course most of my guilt is because it's a stupid thing to be doing to me.

I come up with some wonderful plausible scenarios sometimes, and am sad that I cannot share my cleverness with anyone.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:15 AM
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re: 79

Yeah, in that situation I'd be happily robbing away.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:17 AM
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In the looting scenario, I'd probably be the asshole standing on a pile of rubble yelling "people, PEOPLE! Let's organize this and prioritize according to need!"


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:20 AM
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Who wouldn't have looted post-Katrina? The city is destroyed, you've been abandoned by all levels of government, and there's no telling when you'll be able to get out. Fuck, in that situation you should probably shoot someone, just out of spite.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:21 AM
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I'd probably be the asshole standing on a pile of rubble yelling

Only until I shot you, B.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:22 AM
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I'll sometimes do a good deed because the attempt is sometimes an interesting exercise in detective work, like returning dropped cellphones with cryptic entries in Spanish and a planner/diary I once found in a parking deck. Yes, I read the entire thing before trying some of the phone number scribbles.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:22 AM
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Did you all see the article in the Nation last week (I think) about formaldehyde in FEMA-supplied trailers? Fucking infuriating.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:23 AM
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I found a pair of keys on the sidewalk in front of my house a few months ago. It had a grocery store discount card attached to it, so I went to the nearest Giant and gave it to the store manager, who was able to look up the person's phone number from the bar code. I felt rather pleased with myself, but of course the keys had no value to me. Can't say what I would have done if it had been a bag of cash with a discount card inside.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:25 AM
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90: Don't waste ammo. I got her first.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:26 AM
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Not really sure why I called them a "pair" of keys--more like a set, really.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:28 AM
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89: Does anyone still talk out Armageddon scenarios with their friends? It wasn't all that uncommon back in Cuban Missile Crisis days. Like, who would you want to survive with you and why?


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:29 AM
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There was a thread on that, wasn't there?


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:30 AM
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Yeah, I survived that thread.


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:32 AM
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97: Yep.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:34 AM
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I don't see the need, apart from satisfaction, to shoot her in that situation; seems easily ignorable. I actually had a pleasant "Liberty Leading The People" image going.

Those post-Armeggedon scenarios were everywhere in our youth, and BioH is a little older than I am. On The Beach, and I can remember a movie where Harry Belafonte Harry Belafonte! was literally the last man on earth and the white girl still had a problem with his blackness.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:39 AM
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90, 94: Yeah, well, don't blame me when your every-man-for-himself attitude means someone else shoots you for having grabbed all the toilet paper.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:41 AM
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That was a light romantic screwball Armageddon comedy, right? Sort of like "When Harry met Sally?"


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:42 AM
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100: Thank you, but my tendency to do this sort of thing is one part of why I think I'm gonna be one of the early deaths in an armageddon scenario. That or my fatalism and sloth will keep me from looting because I can't be bothered to fight over toilet paper.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:42 AM
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Sheesh, one can imagine the two of them twenty years from now. There is the once lovely nubile, now in her 40s, reaching for her "to-kill-a-moose-vibrator" as she remembers that 30-ish young man too shy to take her for a spin. And there is Ogg, now in his 50s, trying to figure out what to do with a giant hard-on while remembering the "pink and moist" who got away.


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:54 AM
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I don't know what you're talking about, cracker, but I'm going to shoot you.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:57 AM
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You realise I am going to be the guy in charge, post-Armageddon? Right?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:01 AM
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I don't know what you're talking about, cracker, but I'm going to shoot you.

Gah, go buy a gun. You posted about a Glock once. Go get one, they're not much.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:01 AM
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Isn't that exactly the wrong thing to say to a guy who keeps threatening to shoot people, gswift?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:06 AM
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McG, we'd like to put you in charge, but we can't understand a damn thing you say.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:08 AM
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Cracker probably has it coming.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:08 AM
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re: 109

I intend to communicate mostly by brandishing the severed femur of one of my enemies.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:09 AM
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You can be in charge of motivation; someone else might have to handle logistics.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:10 AM
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Think he sounds like "Willie" from The Simpsons?


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:11 AM
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"Moist" is on my shortlist of supremely unsexy words. Also featured: "crotch" and "hubby".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:11 AM
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So, "My hubby makes my crotch moist" is not a good sentence for you?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:13 AM
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Now, wait a min ... as a flower-child of the Vietnam era, we learned that it was better to make love not war. Ogg, if you do your part, think how much you will be contributing to world peace (and, yes, that spelling too).


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:14 AM
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Ogg

It's Ogged, Cracker. Now I'm shooting your corpse, Christopher Walken style.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:15 AM
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115: Indeed. References to your "moist hubby crotch" or "moist-crotched hubby" also fail to delight.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:16 AM
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re: 113

Worst Scottish accent in the history of the media. I presume it was intentional and some kind of meta-joke on bad accents. Otherwise, it's kinda sad.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:17 AM
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118: Dash the man's domestic ideal, why don't you.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:20 AM
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What about "moist-hubb'd crotch"?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:21 AM
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Christopher Walken style. Relevant action at about 1:45. Warning: contains shooting.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:26 AM
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121: Does that mean that the crotch is not moist, but the rest of the hubby is?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:27 AM
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He that we last as Thurn and Taxis knew
Now recks no lord but the stiletto's Thorn
And Tacit lies the gold once knotted horn.
No hallowed moist-hubb'd crotch can ward, I trow,
who's once been set his tryst with Trystero.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:28 AM
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Moisten that. Moisten you. Moisten these irregular verbs tomorrow afternoon.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:28 AM
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I'm not sure. I think it would mean, maybe, that the crotch has been hubb'd into moistness.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:29 AM
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Oh I've done that. It's quite fun.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:31 AM
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Das kann toll sein.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:33 AM
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A couple of years ago the police raided a house not that far from mine and hauled off "duffle bags full of cash" according to the local paper. Since that time I have often fanasized about ninjaing into some drug den and spiriting away just one of those duffle bags o' cash. No moral problem about stealing from thieves, but the whole Keyser Sose thing if the bad guys found out who did it dampens my enthusiasm for the project.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:33 AM
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117.
The quotation that merited RedFox's objection is from a short story by Nabakov. The protagonist returns home with "pink and moist" on his mind only to find his wife in bed with a stranger. What follows is the challenge of a duel. So you see, Ogg, there are always competitors to those who dally. And besides, who would serve as your "second?" Gswift?


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:35 AM
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I think you might like Omar.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:35 AM
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131 to 129. Swampcracker is already dead.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:37 AM
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There are competetors to those who don't dally, too.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:38 AM
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"I rip and run."


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:41 AM
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in that situation you should probably shoot someone, just out of spite

Preferably someone holding a press conference at the time, just on general principle.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:43 AM
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Oh, hell yeah. Counts double when it's on live TV.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:45 AM
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"*pow!* Two points! High-five!" as a sound clip repeated ad infinitum on the wall-to-wall news channels would be a pretty sweet way to be remembered by civilized society.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:48 AM
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131: Khayyam? Sharif? The founder of nu-classic British Soul?


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:52 AM
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Not to re-rail the thread or anything, but I can't be the only one here burdened by a sort of folk karma, right? I'd be rewarded for not taking the money/returning the lost wallet/&c. I've actually convinced myself this sort of thing happens...although there's usually a problem with commensurability.

Like the time I returned a purse I'd found in the quad at LSU, and two days later was accepted here at UCI. Coincidence? I think not.*

*The real irony here: it's why I like My Name Is Earl despite hating Jason Lee when I knew him. That character he "played" in Mallrats? Not a character. (Or wasn't. Who knows what the Scientologists have done to him.)


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:54 AM
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136: You know about the bit-part local newsshow hostess who shot herself on live TV right?


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:54 AM
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139: Some vague sense of karma is, in theory, a part of what drives my 50% morality but in truth it's also a big part of what drives my 50% fear.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:56 AM
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139: Well, obviously I believe in that, but I rarely actually perceive any particular experience as connecting to it.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:58 AM
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You can be in charge of motivation; someone else might have to handle logistics.

Unfortunately, you already shot those people. Asshole.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:00 PM
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Robots don't believe in karma.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:01 PM
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That character he "played" in Mallrats? Not a character.

His character in Mallrats is charming, and the only thing that makes that movie bearable.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:03 PM
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Yeah, his character is fine. The only character in that movie for whom it would be an insult to say "his character was just like the actor's personality" would be the Ben Affleck one. Or the girlfriend's dad, I guess.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:07 PM
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I'd be rewarded for not taking the money

I believe that what comes around goes around generally. But you ain't gonna get a karma award commensurate with ten thousand free dollars.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:14 PM
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142: You have to work hard to prove things that don't exist have the power to change your life. You just lack commitment.

145, 146: I'm not sure a sexually selfish, self-indulgent asshole qualifies as "charming." I have no personal knowledge of his being sexually selfish, but it wouldn't surprise me. He liked to visit people...with a bullhorn...at 3 a.m. He never didn't find this funny. (Not even, for example, ten minutes after he'd just done it. Or ten minutes after that. Or ten minutes after that.)


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:18 PM
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139: folk karma

That's a bit like synchronicity too, I think. I tend to notice things I need to notice to maintain emotional equilibrium, like spotting a broken escalator at LAX when I was having serious fears about ending up looking for a semi-dry alley to live in after moving from the tech boonies to where everyone obviously was deftly dancing on the cutting edge.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:22 PM
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But you ain't gonna get a karma award commensurate with ten thousand free dollars.

But they're never commensurate. Some nice driver would probably let me turn first. Then I'd let someone else turn first and be awarded a fellowship.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:23 PM
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>He never didn't find this funny.

because, it was funny.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:24 PM
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105.
117.
132.
(Messages the dead keep sending: Thank you all for another lovely Procrastinators' Matinee. Now, to write that chapter.)


Posted by: swampcracker | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:24 PM
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148: Wait, what? Who am I lazily not proving this to? And why? I believe in karma for my own unsharable reasons--I wouldn't attempt to prove it to you--but I don't perceive a direct causal connection between things that happen to me and things that I did. a) I believe Karma has a really large timeframe to work in adn b) when I do try to suss out such connections it invariably invokes either arrogance or despair or both.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:25 PM
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Jason Lee revises his role as Banky and is either the world's largest A-hole or totally adept at playing one.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:30 PM
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151: No, no, no. Even when you're not on the receiving end of the bullhorn, eventually the law of diminishing returns rears it head. As in: "Seriously, don't you want to do something else?" To which was replied: "Quiet, I think I heard her dad nod off again."

153: Karma's spoke ill of my arrogance? That's gonna bite it in the ass.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:32 PM
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It's depressing how many people here are professing some belief in karma.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:34 PM
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154: I love Lee's Banky in Chasing Amy. Not a bad guy at all, just one with no social filters or tact at all. Fortunately I've blocked out most memories of Kevin Smith's other films.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:35 PM
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For gawd sakes, why? At a minimum, it has beneficial effects on behavior.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:36 PM
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I wouldn't say that remember Kevin Smith's films has beneficial effects on behavior.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:37 PM
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I wouldn't say that remembering Kevin Smith's films has beneficial effects on behavior.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:37 PM
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157: How about if we believe that by doing good deeds we can stave off a descending spiral of humans being shittier and shittier to each other in this world, but call that "karma"?


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:37 PM
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Er. 156, obviously.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:37 PM
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156: I find it deeply depressing that more people don't have one.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:41 PM
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161: Pissing in the wind. If you want to actually change things, devote your life to policy.

158: I live in a cocoon where everyone is an atheist and empiricist and no compartmentalizing.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:41 PM
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158: For the same reason people professing a belief in astrology would be depressing (but karma-belief is less egregious).


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:42 PM
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164: I didn't know robots lived in cocoons. Learn something new every day.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:43 PM
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164: Sounds like someone needs a hug!


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:43 PM
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164: That's quite some cocoon. I'm glad to know that a belief that generally acts as a cognitive anchor for conscience and a check on unintentional non-compassion is somehow less egregious than astrology.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:48 PM
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145: "and the only thing that makes that movie bearable" -- I was going to point out that Joey Lauren Adams was briefly naked in Mallrats, but then I realized that, sweet christ, I'm not 15 anymore, it's just not a big deal.

Still: I liked Mallrats. And I really liked Chasing Amy. So there.

For the record, I'm probably close to Alameida on the scale of evil. What's that poem that goes something like, "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder not to see them ashamed"? Well, yeah. Lots of shame, but it doesn't seem very effective deterrence.


Posted by: X. Trapnel | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:49 PM
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168: As he noted, pdf's basically a robot. His notion of policy is going to end up as something like the Three Laws. Think of it as insight into some distant future.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:50 PM
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It's depressing how many people here are professing some belief in karma.

I find it encouraging rather than depressing. "Karma" is just a fancy, esoteric-sounding word to encompass belief in the law of cause and effect. It is fully compatible with science.

Just sayin'.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:50 PM
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Just taught Culture and Anarchy today, and that's so not what he had in mind.


Posted by: Jonathan | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:51 PM
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It is possible to naturalize the concept of karma if you loosen it up the way 161 does. In fact, this may be the way the Buddha understood karma, especially if he took the doctrine of anatman seriously.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:51 PM
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168: When the means include believing in something with no evidentiary support, in the face of known cognitive tendencies that would fool one into believing in that thing, I don't think the ends can justify them. I don't care if the means are God or astrology or karma or whatever. And spiritual people aren't any more moral than empiricists.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:54 PM
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If you do nice things for the people you know, you tend to get remembered when they're doing nice things. It isn't really mystical.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:54 PM
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171: Um, except that cause and effect doesn't apply the way that conventional understandings of karma think it does, any more than it would for conventional understandings of astrology.

I'm all for the idea that most religious or pseudo-religious ideas are effectively metaphors, and quite happy to accept that "karma" is an attempt to explain The Power of Positive Thinking on one's mindset and the world around us. But I mean, we don't *literally* believe in it, do we?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:54 PM
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171 is one of those conjectures that I believe to be truebut lack the motivation to try and articulate for an audience more general than, say, my family.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:56 PM
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173, 171: I don't think there's any more evidence for a naturalistic conception of karma than for a spiritual one. And any non-tautological conception of karma is going to rise above simple cause and effect.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:56 PM
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I don't know if I'd say I believe in karma, but whatever it is, it doesn't seem to be at all a simplistic belief that being nice means people will be nice back in equal measure in any easily causally definable way, and the handful of people I've known who actually believed in karma certainly took a broader view, something closer to 161. (More crudely: "don't piss in the pool of creation.")


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:58 PM
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175: I understand "karma" to mean good deeds that go unobserved by anyone in a position to *directly* account and reward them. Simple reciprocation is usually not included in the conception.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 12:58 PM
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178: I think you are missing part of the naturalist equation here. If by karma you mean that fate will conspire to reward you personally for some good deed--you return someone's wallet and then get into a good school--than that is pure superstition.

But Buddha also taught that there was no such thing as personal identity over time. So in fact the whole idea of "you personally" being rewarded in the future doesn't really make sense. Really what happens is that the actions of current generations can benefit or harm future generations. Good deeds will bounce around society, and so will bad deeds. You shouldn't fixate on the idea that you personally will receive one of those rebounds.

This is, of course, really far from the folk doctrine of karma, but it is absolutely in line with what is recorded of Buddha's thoughts.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:07 PM
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I've looked up and down the thread for context for the Culture and Anarchy reference, but I can't find it.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:10 PM
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181: I could certainly get behind that sort of thing. I already have that sort of conception about personal identity.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:12 PM
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168: No evidentiary support or no sharable, public evidentiary support? I don't go around saying that other people should believe in karma, anymore than I go around saying you should fall in love with the same man or robot I love. I would not have noted that I find it depressing other people don't until you brought it up. And I find it depressing in the same way that I find it depressing when my friends do not understand or appreciate each other--b/c I cannot share my own, person, unmutable experience. I never said religious people were more moral than atheists, but since religious people use karma as a mental touchstone for doing good, I don't see why it should be so egregious.

176: Well, I do. I'm guessing I'm alone in that on this particular forum.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:15 PM
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184: No, you're not alone (assuming you're responding to the last sentence of 176). As a Buddhist, I literally believe in karma.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:24 PM
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176: I literally believe that human behavior is balanced on a knife-edge between good and evil, and that every time I make a choice to be kind, it improves the chances for others to do the same (indirectly but through simple cause and effect - someone who didn't expect to get their money back when they lost their wallet gets it back, later in the day they're in a better mood and able to tip their barista who in turn-- okay bad example, but you get the picture). I literally believe that these tiny little improvements in human nice-to-crappy behavior ratio will create more Gandhis and fewer Hitlers.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:32 PM
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That wouldn't be a bad campaign slogan, actually: "Hamilton Lovecraft in 2008: More Gandhis, Fewer Hitlers"


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:34 PM
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"No evidentiary support or no sharable, public evidentiary support?"

One of my core beliefs is in the surprising and extreme fallibility of human reasoning. See here, (especially here and here) and regularly read this. So I think that private evidence of the sort likely to be affected by these biases is extremely unreliable and you should discount it in yourself and others.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:54 PM
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186. Sounds too much like that insurance commercial where the guy retrieves the baby's doll, and sets in motion a series of "Pay it Forward" improbabilities.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 1:57 PM
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186: I could go along with a limited form of that. Your mood can have a powerful effect on others. A little unexpected kindness can change the mood of someone else's entire day for the better. So the effects of those little things, if you value the effects even though they don't really have much to do with you, are worth the effort of doing those kind deeds or saying those words. But, again, that's not the kind of karma I'm opposed to.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:01 PM
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184b: You are not alone in literally believing it. However, I think a comment in a thread on a blog is probably the least productive place in the universe to explain (much less defend) my religious/spiritual/airy-fairy beliefs. If pdfbot finds my or your or anyone's beliefs depressing then pdfbot is just going to have to get over it.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:05 PM
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In a world where it's completely natural to cheer for sports teams, I venture that it is almost certain that we overestimate, not underestimate, the power of karma.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:07 PM
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191: Resistance is futile.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:09 PM
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188: None of this is news to me, and none of it so far (I do regularly revisit the findings of cognitive science as well as other relevant matters) makes me feel I should. In as much as my general behavior has never been informed by my beliefs in a way that other people can reasonably say is harmful, I'm comfortable with leaving it at that. I have registered your opinion about what I should do, and I chose to ignore it.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:09 PM
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191: You're totally right, but every now and then I don't feel like shutting up and letting people think I'm an Atheist like everyone else in the room---any more than I futilely explain why Atheism is a perfectly reasonable and important worldview in a roomful of religious people.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:12 PM
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193: Locutus of Wikipedia will not take my savage beliefs from me!


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:14 PM
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If we tell pdf to sleep, will it blow up him, his blog, or the whole Internet?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:19 PM
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194: You mean you choose to reject it? Fine with me. But I'll still criticize you for it. After all, this is the internet.

I can interpret your response one of two ways. One, you recognize that the evidence for your views is biased through the mechanisms I linked to, and you choose to not correct for those biases. I think your response boils down to anti-intellectualism, though a compartmentalized version. I can't really argue against that, but I wonder whether you think that's a fair characterization.

Two, you think you've corrected for those biases and still consider that your private evidence supports your views. In that case, productive discussion would have to follow some detailed review of all the evidence you've encountered, which I'm not about to get into with anyone.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:19 PM
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192: To the extent that I see no connection whatsoever between karma as I understand it and the practice of cheering for sports teams, I don't know quite what you're getting at.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:22 PM
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195: "every now and then I don't feel like shutting up and letting people think I'm an Atheist like everyone else in the room"

The same sentiment motivated my original remark. I feel at home here ideologically (which might surprise some people) but in most circumstances, especially here in the south, atheism is still the exception.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:22 PM
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189: Since I've already been banned for analogies, try this:

A. Lovecraft-style karma : Evolution
B. Choice to do something nice or mean : mutation
C. Choice to do something nice : beneficial mutation
D. People being nice specifically because someone else was nice : death postponed past reproduction due to beneficial mutation
E. People not being nice for whatever reason : early death in spite of all beneficial mutations acquired to date
F. People being nice for all other reasons : successful reproduction not linked to any particular mutation
G. Community of happy nice people : thriving species well adapted to current environment

D may be vanishingly rare compared to E and F, but the cumulative effect of the Ds is what leads to G.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 2:30 PM
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198: well, indeed, it is #2. And, in fact, you cannot, expect to tangle with the details. Since #2 is clearly conceivable to you, I just wonder what's so hard about giving people the benefit of the doubt that it is, in fact, #2, on an individual basis, at least. It strikes me as the civil thing to do. While you have in fact acknowledged the possibility of #2, and clearly know it, you seem to work with the assumption that every religious person either does not know of the evidence you cited or does not care (#1). Why not go with assuming #2 from the getgo, given that this is a place populated with people you feel ideologically comfortable with otherwise? Sure statistical evidence may tell you it's unlikely, but statistical evidence also says that most people lie. One still assumes in friendly conversation that people are telling the truth.

As a matter of policy, it seems that a position of deciding that everyone is in bin #1 and should revise their position is untenable or unscalable. As I've said before, a stable and pluralistic society is one in which everyone has a practical way of rationalizing the desirable-coexistence of their worldview with everyone else's. If we can come up with a portable version of such coexistence-vision for every major class of worldview, then there is some hope that everyone can find a closest-version-of-pluralism that's comfortable with both them and the rest of the world.

199: I'm sorry, and that is too bad. I live in the Bay Area and the vast majority of my friends are Atheists or at least agnostics. The close ones are exquisitely open minded and so there is no need to shut up, one way or the other. They correctly assume that I have my private reasons for maintaining my beliefs, and I correctly assume that they have theirs, perhaps more sharable reasons. They do not find me egregious, or anti-intellectual, and our mutual depression is no different than a mutual depresion about other unsharable experiences. They know I do not think I am more moral than them, and that I find them to be much more moral than many religious people. My hope is that if everyone who wanted be an Atheist or agnostic could be, the world would be a much better place--religion would be left to the people who actually cared for it, and everyone else could have their own good time. In larger crowds however, it has increasingly come to my attention that the cultures of Atheism and agnosticism are not developing the tolerance you'd think would be particular to them; it seems silly to always keep quiet when I wouldn't among people who deride Atheism.

And now I really should disappear for a bit, so I apologize in advance if I have been unclear or ruffled any feathers.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 3:10 PM
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202B: Well said -- I'm an agnostic who might as well be atheist, but I have moral, good, non-child-molesting, non-fag-bashing Christian friends, and it bugs me when my atheist friends gratuitously bash religion.


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 3:26 PM
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And also: if I called my atheist friends on it, I'm sure their gut response, vocalized or not, would be something like "well of course I didn't mean H-; she's not like those other Christians", which would of course be contemptible if uttered with certain other words substituted for "Christians".


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 3:28 PM
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And now I really should disappear for a bit, so I apologize in advance if I have been unclear or ruffled any feathers.

Feh. It's always useful for people to be forced to examine their prejudices and consider how tolerant they actually are. If anything, the unfoggedetariat should collectively thank you for taking one for the team.

Would have sent this via email, but none provided.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 3:52 PM
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Can we just ditch the use of agnostic? It means so many things to different people. I would say that 99% of people who think of themselves as agnostic are actually plain old atheists, in the conventional scientific "weak" sense.

I don't think I've ever met a self-professed 'agnostic' who is actually cognizant of the whole "not knowable" thing. But maybe I run in lame circles.


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 4:21 PM
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To the extent that I see no connection whatsoever between karma as I understand it and the practice of cheering for sports teams, I don't know quite what you're getting at.

I was getting at the idea that people often think that their beliefs have a strong impact on the world outside of them, in ways that (to me) seem irrational. Examples: the belief that prayer can help cure someone else's illness; the belief that cheering during a sporting event has some impact on the outcome; when I was 12, I lost my wallet and had a very strong feeling that this must have been God's punishment for some bad thing I had done (or thought); most gamblers don't believe they are helpless players of poor odds; right-wing bloggers talk about we can only lose the war in Iraq because of failure of "will."

(Now you may say, hey, no one at a sporting event really thinks they can influence the outcome just by cheering. But -- studies indicate that people actually do see a connection between their positive thoughts and positive outcomes on the field, and that this perceived connection can be manipulated experimentally; and I would think that cheering for sports teams is the sort of practice that suggests that people have an "intuitive" sense of cause and effect that is quite different from pure physical reality.)

This is not a complete argument, but basically, I see a trend: people tend to overestimate the power of belief and the power of positive thinking, in demonstrably wrong ways.

I guess I was responding to 186. I'm not saying that people don't really understand cause and effect, just that there's a demonstrable human tendency to think that the mind is more important than it possibly can be, and that leads me to doubt the "infinite ripple" effect of returning a lost wallet to its owner. But really, I can't fully articulate this point of view in a blog comment any more than you could articulate the opposite.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 4:31 PM
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I have "troubling" members of my family who seem to have a lot of potential but can never quite pull their lives together. The impact of any one event on their (somewhat fragile) lives seems to me quite small, and easily extinguished -- good (or bad) for the moment, but not much else. Come to think of it, I'm doing quite well but I think the same would be true of me.

Now life is just a bunch of moments or whatever, but it seems to me that we can evaluate each of them in isolation as a good approximation of their overall impact.


Posted by: Barbar | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 4:38 PM
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206: You run in lame circles. "We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know."


Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 4:43 PM
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204: Not that I do that much criticizing of religion, but my response would be more like "Well, religion doesn't have a strong hold on her, like it does on some people." Which is no less contentious, but more defensible. (That's not anything I want to bother defending here, though.)

202a: I don't see how I wasn't giving you the benefit of the doubt. I was stating my positions strongly, sure. I don't think it's at all unreasonable to assume that people are not going to be familiar with the field of heuristics and biases, and to assume that they're going to be making all sorts of those mistakes. (I assume that of myself, and I wouldn't be offended if someone accused me of such a bias in a particular instance.) I don't think that should be seen as condescending or uncharitable, because I'm very humble about my rational capabilities, and expect that other people should be as well. Of course, it's best not to bring that sort of thing up unless absolutely necessary, because people *do* consider it uncharitable, and it doesn't tend to help discussion along. But on this topic, I think it's necessary to bring it up.

202b: I don't really support pluralism or tolerance as a matter of personal policy. That's not to exclude tact, of course, and public policy is a much different matter.

I fully support the propriety of everything you've said in this thread. I don't think you've been out of line, or intolerant, at all. I'm not sure why the kind of argument that's gone on here is uncomfortable for you (as it appears to be, given your 202), besides the normal nerve-wrackingness of debate. Do you think that tolerance and pluralism entails not discussing these issues at all, or not criticizing other viewpoints in the manner I have done, or not expressing the adverse emotional reactions I have, or not having those reactions? I don't think I can support any of those. In fact, I think I understand very little about your position on pluralism, and the sentiments you express in 202b.

"They do not find me egregious"

Nor have I ever. Astrology is egregious. Scientology is egregious. Christianity is regrettable, but usually forgivable. Buddhism is iffy. (There are some pretty secular forms of it that I would be ok with.) Certain extreme views on karma are egregious, others are stating the obvious.

"and our mutual depression is no different than a mutual depresion about other unsharable experiences."

My depression wasn't about any one person's belief, but in the number of people who expressed belief. It disappointed an expectation I had had about the level of rationality around here. This is a very elitist and non-tolerant statement, and I defend it the same way Bitch would (and has) defended similar statements decrying Biel-ass commentary and such. I don't see any reason to tolerate or defer to or remain silent about silliness like karma in intellectual forums just because it's semi-religious viewpoint. No other viewpoints ought to get that kind of deference, either, and very few do.

None of this is to cast any aspersions on your own intelligence or sanity in holding that viewpoint, of course. Attacking the idea is not attacking the person. This is the way good internet discussion works. People around here regularly say things about my positions that imply that they question my own rationality or sanity. But this is an attack on my positions, not on me.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 4:52 PM
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Am I too late to reply to the post? Never mind I shall do so anyway; I am at both ends of Alameida's scale. I fantasize, and enthusiastically, about all manner of wrongdoing; and I also feel ashamed about having the fantasies. My stock sexual fantasy as a kid was that I would somehow acquire the superpower of being able to stop time from progressing for everybody except me, and then have my way with the inanimate bodies around me. Jeez did I beat myself up about having that fantasy. But somehow understanding that it was a wrong thing to think or to find sexy did not allow me to stop thinking it or to stop being aroused by it.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:27 PM
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Truly disturbing.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:51 PM
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You're telling me.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:52 PM
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Yay, you aspired to be the guy in The Fermata! Did you read it and get creeped out?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 6:57 PM
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I never read that book or (much) heard of it until now -- I probably heard about it when it came out, but not enough for it to stick in my mind. But yeah, if I had read it that probably would have occurred to me a creeped me.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:00 PM
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My stock sexual fantasy as a kid

I had that exact same thing. I've never actually read Fermata, though I did read Vox and The Everlasting Story of Nory.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:03 PM
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Please don't let this turn into the childhood sexual fantasy thread.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:27 PM
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I sense you have something you want to tell us, pdf.


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:28 PM
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Robots don't have childhoods.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:33 PM
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File formats on the other hand...


Posted by: Clownaesthesiologist | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 7:45 PM
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I'm a file format conversion utility, not a file format.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 10:36 PM
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211 is what the guy in that one Twilight Zone episode would have done if any women worked at his bank.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-21-07 11:12 PM
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Hmm, I'm back, though everyone else is gone. Sorry, I was busy with my nose to the grindstone and then rocking out.

pdf23ds, when you chose to use the term egregious (even with the qualification of less) that sounded less like critique and more like disdainful dismissal to the point of exclusion; when you then said that the ends (a deliberate increase in compassion and conscience) couldn't justify the means, that also seemed to indicate a personal abhorrence beyond mere disagreement; when I asked, well, what about in the case of non-sharable evidentiary support your 188 seemed to indicate that you only accepted the position of 198.1, and did not recognize the existence of 198.2. That is where it seemed that no benefit of doubt was being extended.

I realize now that when you wrote So I think that private evidence of the sort likely to be affected by these biases is extremely unreliable and you should discount it in yourself and others., you might have been implicitly including the possibility of 198.2 (the unspoken "unlikely" that is the complement to likely) and that by "should discount" you may have meant the literal "should count less" rather than the colloquial sense of "should dismiss." In that case I apologize. At the time however it seemed like a merely stylized way of saying private evidence is always biased, resulting in a very strong imperative judgment. Such strong imperative judgements "(you should think -----"), when applied seriously to major swathes of worldview, seem to go beyond mere criticism to me, edging on a willful desire that a certain class of opinions actually disappear.

I don't really support pluralism or tolerance as a matter of personal policy. That's not to exclude tact, of course, and public policy is a much different matter.

What? I'm not sure what you're saying here.
My depression wasn't about any one person's belief, but in the number of people who expressed belief. It disappointed an expectation I had had about the level of rationality around here.

I think part of the problem here is that we are using different senses of the world tolerate. To me tolerate means to not try and push away/get rid of something you don't like--there's not liking it, there's saying one doesn't like, and then quite apart is expressing an active desire that it should disappear. I'm afraid I missed the Biel-ass commentary, or don't recall it too well, but judging on the rest of your reply I don't think you mean to say you are non-tolerant in my definition-space--there's a big difference between tolerating something and defering to it. I have no expectation that you defer.

I wasn't particularly uncomfortable. But the imperative mood (which, again, I may have misperceived) and the way in which you expressed the adverse emotional reaction (exactly b/c of the number issue, not in spite of it-) seemed to indicate to me that your disappointment in the "level of rationality" went beyond "well that's a disagreeable surprise" to something more like "I wish these people would change or leave and am actually unhappy that they are here with their current attitudes--there are too many of them." Perhaps I was wrong--after all you are a robot and I am an island--but I didn't sense any irony. By referring to us in the third person (just "people", not "you people") and using the term depressing, the original comment seemed sincerely unhappy that we were around in our current opinion-configuration. Various snarky personalities are always saying things like, "You people disappoint me" or "go away!" (except more cleverly than that) but rarely is that lacking in enough irony as to really mean, "I wish you were not here." I, at least, try to reserve that for patently offensive, mean, or trollish people. So I guess that I would answer to your listed options thusly--in a pluralistic, tolerant society people express their adverse emotional reaction in a self-contained, non-directed way. You tolerate something you don't like by holding back some of your ire. That is what tolerance is. (take the usage of "tolerate the pain." One hates it, one says one hates it, but one doesn't express a will to get rid of it.) You may feel the ire, and you may say something about it, but it is curtailed to a level that does not express a desire to get rid of the object of ire. It's an acceptance of presence, a resignation to it. Less like the irritation of a sneeze, more like that of an oyster.

Based on the rest of your comment I think we are in fact in basic agreement now, or at least understand each other. You are attacking my position, I accept that. I actually made no attempt to defend it, and don't even use it very often in my own life. (See my original comment.) So attack away--perhaps something you say will marinate productively in my brain. Given that even if I do change my mind I'm probably not going to change it very quickly and probably not because of anonymous comments on a blogboard, it is reassuring to know that my presence--and the presence of a surprising number of likeminded people--is in fact not intrinsically depressing to you.

(And while I don't think religion is uniquely deserving of special regard, I do think it's naive to pretend it's not deserving of approximately as much regard as things like gender-identity or class--mutable things which are usually not changed. You can assail the position, but it is silly to pretend that it can be swapped out like a hat or even an opinion about music or movies or Dem candidates. I bet even if you met a Deity tomorrow you'd have a hard time believing in it. We are not totally separable from our isms, some more than others. It's part of the human condition. )

So anyway, thanks for engaging, I thought that was actually a fairly productive discussion. Sorry I had to disappear. . .blame the music.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 02-24-07 1:54 AM
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