Posts Tagged ‘contrarianism’

John S Still Hates Christmas

John S explained why he hates Christmas last year (and the year before that), but it’s all still true:

It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to you to hear that I hate Christmas: For one, I like hating things that are popular. More substantively, though, Christmas combines two of my least favorite things in the world: religion and consumerism. At Christmas, people are encouraged to buy a bunch of stuff that they don’t need in order to celebrate the birth of a god that doesn’t exist. Continue reading

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The Drawing Board: Sarah Palin

What is everybody’s problem with this lady? I’m not saying I like her, but she’s kinda hot so I definitely don’t hate her. I mean, hey, if she’s been living in Alaska, no wonder we have global warming because she is hot! (Hot things raise the ambient temperature, which is symptomatic of global warming, if you follow me.) Now all you girls reading this, don’t give me that “Oh my God, ew, Sarah Palin is not hot!” First of all, I said kinda hot. Second of all, relative to her position in life, yes, Sarah Palin is quite hot and probably hotter than you’ll be at that age. Do you really want to take that wager? Because I will follow through on it and call you out in front of your FIVE kids. Okay then, shut up about me calling her “kinda hot”.*

*This point is purely academic as there are no girls who read this column. Continue reading

An Unusual Defense of the Death Penalty

The death penalty has been in the news lately because of the American Law Institute’s disavowal of the very influential framework it created for applying the death penalty in 1962. Much of the concern of death penalty critics is based on the grave harm of executing the falsely convicted. I offer one possible defense of the death penalty that claims that maintaining the death penalty is actually better for those falsely convicted of first-degree murder:

Premise 1: After a criminal is convicted of first-degree murder with a punishment of the death penalty (DP), more attention and legal help* is offered to that criminal than when there is the alternative punishment of life imprisonment.
Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while looking for a more suitable sponsor…

  • We almost always recommend something from it, but consider reading this week’s NY Times Magazine cover to cover: It’s the 9th Annual Year in Ideas Issue and it features an interview with eminent University of Chicago Philosopher Martha Nussbaum.
  • When we read Russian lit–and you know we do–we do our best to procure the translation by the husband and wife team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. The Millions recently did an interview with the pair about their methods, philosophies, and future projects.

The Point of No Reproach

I am, in general, a big fan of criticism, iconoclasm and contrarianism. I use some variation of the phrase “thinking critically” pretty much everyday. Whenever conventional wisdom forms about a certain subject, I instinctively take the opposite point of view.

Some people view these characteristics as flaws, but I consider them a point of pride.

In spite of this inclination towards criticism, there a few subjects on which I am downright dogmatic.

I noticed this most recently while reading Infinite Summer, the online book club for David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, probably my favorite novel of all-time. There was a discussion of the novel’s inclusion of endnotes and whether or not this aligned with the book’s themes, or was simply a stylistic pretense. My gut instinct, however, was to dismiss those who were anti-endnotes as morons who couldn’t possibly understand the book. Continue reading