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May 11, 2010

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Paglia is a blathering idiot.

No mention of Paglia is complete without a link to Molly Ivins' review of Paglia's, um, work.

Is there any land based mammal that can't swim? Hell, even elephants can swim. Maybe giraffes?

*googling*

Seems that giraffes, orangutans and gorillas can't swim, along with most armadillos. Lots of other mammals can do it but don't like it (including chimps).

Lots of other mammals can do it but don't like it (including chimps).

And the vast majority of cats - other than tigers, who love water.

Is there any land based mammal that can't swim?

Edward Phillips of Evansville, Indiana, and maybe my dad's cousin George

Camille says "For me, .........more facts, more basic information, presented without .......
drama."

When did she drop the drama?

Watch our for pigs overhead.

Ah, thanks, Turbulence, I hadn't read that one.

The world is a poorer place without Molly Ivins.

Jaguars like to swim, too. BMWs, not so much.

I wonder if the lack of the ability of gorillas/orangutan to swim is more of a "no one is there to teach them how to" thing than they physically can't.

And here Eric's post on the daftness of Camille Paglia has led to a discussion of the relative swimming abilities of land based mammals. My bad.

Well, to be fair, giraffes have never really needed to learn to swim. Even in the deepest pools--improbable enough on the savanna--they can just walk along the bottom and breathe normally.

Well, to be fair, giraffes have never really needed to learn to swim. Even in the deepest pools--improbable enough on the savanna--they can just walk along the bottom and breathe normally.

Provided the majority of the giraffe's neck were above water. Otherwise, it would be unable to overcome the pressure differential, even if its head were above water. (I majored in giraffe physics.)


Provided the majority of the giraffe's neck were above water. Otherwise, it would be unable to overcome the pressure differential, even if its head were above water. (I majored in giraffe physics.)

KEEPER: What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
ARTHUR: What do you mean? An African or European swallow?
KEEPER: What? I don't know that! Auuuuuuuugh!
BEDEMIR: How do know so much about swallows?
ARTHUR: Well, you have to know these things when you're a king you know.

There is a quality in some human beings; they believe that they are smart enough to understand any field of human thinking with virtually no effort. Five minutes of contemplation and they're just certain that they've diagnosed all of the issues and can make fair, nuanced pronouncements.

I have no idea where it comes from. I've read a dang ton on climatology, and I wouldn't presume to speak except in the most general terms.
Yet here, this jackass-human hybrid hasn't got past the obvious step-one fallacies (eg climate has changed in the past!) but considers herself knowledgable enough to claim expertise.

I think I would be profoundly embarrassed to find myself saying such easily-debunked things in public. Perhaps this is what sets the mass of men apart from homo superior subsp punditius, the presence of the embarrassment gene. Lacking it, the punditius can sound wise and knowledgable on virtually any subject within seconds of reading (and forgetting) the introductory material, and since it can produce debunkable material approximately 95% faster than it can be debunked, at any given moment in time it appears to have been effortlessly correct 19 times out of 20.

What is this hysteria over drowning polar bears?

Yeah, rilly! Stupid bear, hold your breath!!

You'd think someone who purports to be as well-informed as Paglia would know better than to make the unwarranted leap from "Polar bears can swim" to "Polar bears can swim forever."

CW: There is a quality in some human beings; they believe that they are smart enough to understand any field of human thinking with virtually no effort.

Not just that, but the belief that if only most people weren't so goddamn stupid, they would themselves understand these fields by similarly applying this minimal level of effort, and that therefore what most people think about most things is just a mess of fallacies and ignorance driven by laziness.

This gives a convenient excuse for the fact that the opinions that one might find comfortable are in conflict with what most people think; most people are just idiots.

I'm sympathetic to the problem of being a curious generalist; unless you have time & opportunity to devote yourself to intensive study of a given subject, getting an understanding necessarily involves making your own simplifications of what you're trying to understand. What I try to keep in mind is that those simplifications are tentative, and therefore subject to revision or destruction when they come into conflict with facts or are contradicted by someone more knowledgeable. The wrong way to go about it is to decide that you are, in all areas and at all times, a genius of synthesis and simplification, solving all problems at a flash with your beginner's mind. That's a flattering fallacy. It's fun to sometimes come across a particular way of looking at things that seems novel and instructive, but it's a long way from there to being a master of the subject.

I guess by careful avoidance of contradiction you can make a career of it. Doesn't seem very satisfying to me, though.

Could it be this at work in the case of Camile Paglia?

The only thing I want to know about Paglia is who's paying her to say so much shit that she MUST know is a lie.

"Postmodernism and poststructuralism don't go in for the long view. They believe the whole narrative of history is a fiction. They just specialize in one narrow area."

Paglia, proving that she's never actually read any Foucault.

There again, judging from her discussion of material facts I'm guessing she hasn't ever read any actual geology either.

Gotta love the irony of her calling all of current scholarship "a pat formula that's very thin." She's been riding that horse for years.

I always figured that gorillas and orangutans can't swim simply because they have body densities (due to their muscle mass and general lack of fatty tissue) that mean they sink like the proverbial stone.

Athletes with heavy muscle and little fat have extraordinary trouble floating in water, for example, and some human beings (like my mother) have a natural bouyancy about one foot under the surface of the water.

@ Carleton Wu and Jacob Davies

Aww. You fell for it and took Camille seriously.

She was The Onion's house philosopher before there was The Onion.

Back in my dating days (ooohh soooooooooo long ago...), if Camille came up in conversation, I knew the relationship had no future. No past, either.

She and John Silber (former president of my alma mater, Boston U) deserved each other in the richest way possible.

"The only thing I want to know about Paglia is who's paying her to say so much shit that she MUST know is a lie."
Replace Paglia with a blank, make this gender neutral, and you could say this about a lot of people.

Paglia is a provocateur, no more, no less.

She is utterly without content. Only bluster.

"And the vast majority of cats - other than tigers, who love water."

I'm nearly positive all cats can swim--it's just that only the jaguars and tigers seem to enjoy it. It'd be strange if some could swim and others couldn't, since other than size and some differences in build they're very similar.

There might even be some domestic cat breeds that enjoy swimming--I seem to have a vague recollection of that.

Just looked this up on that vast educational resource, youtube. Lots of swimming cats there. Here's one--

link

I am wondering if cats and other animals have to be taught how to swim. It seems to me I've read both--some animals do and some don't, but I don't know for sure.

Oh yeah, on the original topic--Paglia is a moron. Swimming cats is a much more interesting topic.

I've always thought it wasn't that cats can't swim, they just can't stand the loss of dignity when they come out of the water looking all bedraggled...

There might even be some domestic cat breeds that enjoy swimming--I seem to have a vague recollection of that.

Turkish Van are well known for enjoying the water, and IIRC Maine Coons are as well.

Wow, that's stupid even on a Camille Paglia scale.

Apparently, no one died when the Titanic went down. Humans can swim, you know.

@biggerbox: "Humans can swim, you know."

Especially human witches,... they're made of wood, you know.

@Carleton Wu "I think I would be profoundly embarrassed to find myself saying such easily-debunked things in public."

Well, that's Camille's secret -- she's NEVER embarrassed to say any stupid shit in public, including stupid shit that directly contradicts previous stupid shit she's said in public. She's made a good living out of it all these years. It's a small talent, but her own.

If she hadn't existed, the patriarchy ('coz she loves some contrarian feminist-baiting) and the right wing media would have had to invent her.

For the record, I didn't say cats "can't" swim, just that most don't like it.

My exception was tigers, though I'm in for jaguars, and the rare domestic exception. But they are exceptions, not the rule.

There are plenty of animals that can swim that can also drown.

I'd be willing to bet that the overwhelming majority of animals that do drown can swim. Otherwise, they wouldn't be in or near the water in the first place. I'd also bet that most of the people who have died skydiving had previously jumped from planes and survived. It's a crazy world.

I think we need a Relative Feline Swim Propensity open thread. Could be the first of its kind.

Until spambots forced the kitten to close down oldish threads, ObWings kept getting comments on Edward_'s whale-phobia thread. For years.

Elly May's cat used to swim in the cement pond.

Can lemmings swim? Not well enough, anyway.

sounds like her argument is as brilliant as the "if there is global warming, why did it snow this winter, smart guy!" line of reasoning.

also: polar bears can swim = climate isn't changing? or just that we shouldn't care, because it only affects polar bears? or, what? i'm confused. is she trying to say that we shouldn't worry about polar bears drowning, because they can swim (which, of course, means there are polar bear lifeguards to rescue tired bears), and thusly we shouldn't care about global climate change at all?

"If she hadn't existed, the patriarchy ('coz she loves some contrarian feminist-baiting) and the right wing media would have had to invent her. "

And you are sure they didn't? A good cyborg with a preprogrammed writing style and provided content is hard to find, but with all that black ops money?

Wow.

And I'm not at all surprised to find Paglia's drivel in a Margaret Wente column, either.

According to the biblical story of Noah's Ark, no species can swim for any length of time, even fish and certainly not man.

Noah's selection of the two survivors of each species for their time on the Ark made things even worse under that other biblical principle cited by the anti-American Confederate Party now intent on destroying the country, namely, that all species were permanently disincentized to learn to swim because they were bailed out by the shadowy Noah's TARP.

This will insure that Goldman Giraffe and Sachs Giraffe will need an even bigger lifeboat next time.

Let them drown. That'll show us.

For some reason this seems relevant (if only to me):

Canadian-based ecologist said Friday that he has located the world's largest beaver dam in northwestern Canada using Google satellite technology.

Ecologist Jean Thie located the 2,788-foot (850-meter) dam using Google Earth and NASA technology while researching the rate of melting permafrost in the country's far north.

And if you believe in the story of Noah's Ark, hasn't there been a lot of, er, in-breeding amongst the surviving population since then (not to mention Bill Cosby's two mosquitos problem)?

"And in you believe in the story of Noah's Ark.."

And if you don't, I'd lie about it if I were you so you can get elected to Congress as an anti-American Confederate Party Rep or Senator to get on with the long-term project of wrecking the country.

"If she hadn't existed, the patriarchy ('coz she loves some contrarian feminist-baiting) and the right wing media would have had to invent her. "

And you are sure they didn't? A good cyborg with a preprogrammed writing style and provided content is hard to find, but with all that black ops money?

I'm about as big a patriarchy blamer as you can find, but I refuse to believe the intelligent design theory on this issue.


The first boat we read of, floated on an ocean, that with Portuguese vengeance had whelmed a whole world without leaving so much as a widow. That same ocean rolls now; that same ocean destroyed the wrecked ships of last year. Yea, foolish mortals, Noah's flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers.

If anyone is interested in exactly where that beaver dam is, bring up Google Earth and type in 58 16 18N 112 15 07W.

"There goes the neighborhood!", say the beavers.

in re gorillas and orangs, it's also the relatively small size of their lungs with respect to body mass, I believe . . speaking of primates and swimming, there's some funny pictures in _Baboon Metaphysics_ of baboons crossing water . . . they dislike it greatly, perhaps because of the crocodile problem, and many of them seem to choose a token body part that they try to keep dry -- tip of tail, left front paw, etc., as if keeping that part dry will protect them.

If anyone is interested in exactly where that beaver dam is, bring up Google Earth and type in 58 16 18N 112 15 07W.

Whereupon you'll be struck by a beaver dam out in the middle of nowhere. Why do things like this keep happening?

and some human beings (like my mother) have a natural bouyancy about one foot under the surface of the water.

So, the next new internet tradition will be "Your mother is so buoyant, ..." jokes?

(I majored in giraffe physics.)

Not many would admit to so silly a program of study, so kudos for sticking your neck out.

"For the record, I didn't say cats "can't" swim, just that most don't like it."

Ah, so you did. I think I got confused because of the chimps don't like it quote, which I had read as "can't swim", because I'd read myself that chimps can't swim. Now someone in this thread says they can. Now I'm off to youtube to see if there are any swimming chimps.

Anyway, swimming animals and dam-building animals and animals in general are far more interesting than what's her name.

I majored in kangaroo physics. I wanted to get a jump start on everyone else.

nobody told me there were going to be puns.

Sometimes it's better to keep news like that in your pocket.

PUNS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON UGH-INSPIRED THREAD JACKS!!!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!

*pouts*

zOMG! WE'RE INTO ALL-CAPS NOW!

PUNS ARE NOT ALLOWED ON UGH-INSPIRED THREAD JACKS!!!!

Oh, er, my apologies, Ugh. Hey folks, how about focusing on the new internet tradition instead?

"Ugh's mother is so buoyant, she raises sea levels more than global warming!"

That's plain silly. If she were particularly buoyant, she wouldn't be displacing much water. (I minored in floating-mother physics.)

Unlike Paglia, this thread is full of win.

Some real challenges to the primacy of Thullen, I wot.

The first boat we read of

hsh: Melville?

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, they put some sand on her butt and called her a desert island!

What what what?!!?

I mirrored in bloating polar psychics.

(Your bear is so buoyant, it can swim better than Ugh's mother.)

What what what?

All together now, SHUT UP, ECCLES!

[Google that with I'm feeling lucky and, yes, it works.]

efgoldman: I object to being call a primate, although when I'm crossing the river with the other baboons, I do not like it at all because of the crocodile problem mentioned above by Jacob.

Yeah, that's me in the middle of my protective entourage, with the worried look on his face, adjusting his water wings.

*******

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, Redstate sneered that buoyancy is just a theory.

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, they declared her a floating casino.

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, they gave up trying to keep a good woman down.

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, they rebuilt the Titanic in her image.

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, Christian fundamentalists found her foghorn on Mt. Ararat.

Ugh's mother is so buoyant, Noah used her as his biblical dinghy.


That's plain silly. If she were particularly buoyant, she wouldn't be displacing much water.

Eureka! I think you've got it!

Jacob Davies -- It's very tempting to think that most people really are just idiots, especially if you catch them holding forth on the wrong subject. I know several people who are fine except on some one topic, about which they have nothing to say but some standard line of right-wing (or other) lunacy.

KL, my whole family is too dense to float (not enough adipose tissue), but we can all swim. In fact we figured that for their own safety, all the kids must learn to swim.

You omitted the best (I use the term loosely) part:

"But instead of that, the kids get ideology. They're taught that global warming has been caused by factories. They have no idea there’s been climate change throughout history. And they're scared into thinking that tsunamis are coming to drown New York."

In that last sentence, Ms. Paglia clearly refers to The Day After Tomorrow -- the film all climatologists love to hate.

It's fairly clear from that where she gets her information about global warming: from certain films, from mainstream media, and from friends (probably literary types) who pick up on such offerings and discuss them with her. Given that, it's evident she's going to be poorly informed about global warming.

But for all her talk of the long sweep of history, she seems not to understand that there was prehistory, a time when we had no influence at all over the workings of Earth's atmosphere. But now we have great influence. Those too are quite basic facts. From them follows the inference that the current change in climate can have a different cause than those whose records we find in rocks and ice.

I find it inexcusable that Ms. Paglia does not make that inference, and that her idea of what kids are being taught veers so far from reality.

That's plain silly. If she were particularly buoyant, she wouldn't be displacing much water.

Not so: she'd displace her own weight in water, however buoyant she was. In fact, given that buoyancy tends to increase with body fat percentage, and so does overall weight, if she's very buoyant, she's probably also very fat, and therefore very heavy, and so will displace quite a lot of water.

I tried to major in bear physics, but due to a typographical error I was arrested for public nudity and expelled.

nobody told me there were going to be puns.

Puns and pundits rarely go well together.

And they're scared into thinking that tsunamis are coming to drown New York.

Which actually will happen. There are these islands in the Atlantic whith their unstable (underwater) flanks you may never have heard of. When (not if) these go down the Western coasts of Europe will get mile high tsunamis and the American East Cost somewhat smaller ones a few hours later. If New York ist still there when that happens, then it will not be afterwards. If methane hydrates work indeed as a glue as some scholars believe, then there could be even a global warming connection that could cause the event to happen earlier.
Canaries in the methane mine, just to add another lame pun.

just to add another lame pun.

Is there any other kind?

hsh: Melville?

Si

Not so: she'd displace her own weight in water, however buoyant she was. In fact, given that buoyancy tends to increase with body fat percentage, and so does overall weight, if she's very buoyant, she's probably also very fat, and therefore very heavy, and so will displace quite a lot of water.

ajay, the assumption in the field of floating-mother physics is that any floating mother's volume is fixed, and that only her buoyancy/weight/density can vary. Otherwise, she's a witch, and there's no such thing as witches. As a layperson, you wouldn't know that, so your error is understandable. But that doesn't excuse your constant climate-change denialism, for which you are so well known.

If she weighs more than a duck, she's made of wood, and therefore a witch.

If she weighs the same as a duck, Jesurgislac. (I minored in computer science, so I know Python.)

She could be a lame duck.

Wood that be a duck with a woulden leg?

Not so: she'd displace her own weight in water, however buoyant she was.

Eureka!!!

If she weighs more than a duck, she's made of wood, and therefore a witch.

Why a duck?

Melville?

No, he von't.

(Sorry about all this. Just got back from a stressful business trip and need to decompress.)

Why a duck? Why a no chicken?

You try to cross that river a chicken you'll see why a duck. It's deep water, that's viaduct.

Ral, you birdbrain, that's viagiraffe.

You try to cross that river [with] a chicken

then you get ... chickenrivers ?

ajay, the assumption in the field of floating-mother physics is that any floating mother's volume is fixed, and that only her buoyancy/weight/density can vary. Otherwise, she's a witch, and there's no such thing as witches. As a layperson, you wouldn't know that, so your error is understandable. But that doesn't excuse your constant climate-change denialism, for which you are so well known.

Anti-Semite.

Anti-Semite.

Under Dog fan.

Well, I think it's fairly clear by now just how interested we all are in what Camille Paglia has to say. Let a thousand mediocrities Bloom!

Under Dog fan.

OK, so one of my core beliefs in life is that if you try to think of the most ridiculous thing you could possible imagine, somebody somewhere will not only have already thought of it, but will be doing it.

And not just as a goof, but wholeheartedly and with gusto. Because they believe, deeply and without reservation, that it's the most splendid thing anyone could possibly do.

QED.

It's deep water, that's viaduct.

So deep you couldn't ford over.

Why you need a duck when you got a Ford?

And in other news:

What's a bigga grey animal, got a long nose, and lives at the circus?

That's irrelevant!

At'sa right!

I move this testimony be eliminated.

I'll have-a one too.

One what?!

Eliminate. A nice cold glass of eliminate. Hey boss, how'm I doing?

OK, so one of my core beliefs in life is that if you try to think of the most ridiculous thing you could possible imagine, somebody somewhere will not only have already thought of it, but will be doing it.

So, Rule 34 would presumably be a corollary of russell's law.

russell (and whitehead) attempted to compile a comprehensive list of ridiculous things to do, but were foiled when godel remarked that he found the concept of listing all ridiculous things to be itself "unimaginably ridiculous".

Paglia is always dumb as a box of rocks which flunked out of rock schools.

John Thullen: Camille says "For me, .........more facts, more basic information, presented without .......
drama."

When did she drop the drama?

Watch our for pigs overhead.

I also like the "For me..." -- highlighting her own ever so precious superiority. She sounds like someone who was praised too much for the most obvious things in kindergarten and never got over it. If no one else will keep saying "good job" all day every time she breathes, she'll just have to do it herself.

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Whatnot


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