05 March 2012

Monday Causes Ignorance?

In the style of the original Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," I suppose I could have called this entry "Rush, You Ignorant Slut!" But that would be wrong for two reasons: That it might splash on others I criticize here (at least one of whom appears to be female, and my criticism has nothing to do with sex, so it's inappropriate)... and, for that matter, it implies that Rush Limbaugh himself has something to do with sex.

  • Yeah, Rush. Of course we believe you: It wasn't a "personal attack" when you called a female law student you had never met a "slut" and a "prostitute" — even though you manage to make just about any correction to the asserted "facts" you pluck out of your fat ass into a personal attack on you and on 'murikanvalues. I'm not sure how much more than accusing someone making a general policy statement on a health issue of wanton morals and criminal activity it takes to be "personal." Or what you really think of Ben Franklin, one of our leading Founding Fathers (perhaps more literally than you might be willing to acknowledge... let alone have your legion of equally ignorant dittoheads "research" from irrelevant and imaginary sources).

    And although you asked to see sex tapes of Ms Fluke, remember one thing: Nobody wants to see yours. And I'm not providing any Brain Bleach™ to scrub out that image, either.

  • The last few days have demonstrated the sheer ignorance of certain candidates. If I may quote from the owner's manual:

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    U.S. Const. Art. VI cl. 3. Admittedly, it requires actually reading the owner's manual to understand this... and having some knowledge of history. First, and perhaps most obvious (to those of us who've ever taken an oath of office) is the distinction between "oath" and "affirmation." The Constitution explicitly authorizes both... and they are terms related to religious doctrine. That is, all officers of the United States are parts of a system that explicitly contemplates that they will not all share the same religious doctrine. Then there's the meaning of "religious Test," referring to the Test Act of 1673 (25 Car. II. c. 2, 5 Stat. Realm 782 (1819)), which was explicitly designed to exclude Catholics from office in England. But understanding these requires some understanding of "irony," too — something sorely lacking among politicians.

  • Dean Wesley Smith was far too nice to an agent I will not name here (you can spot the name at DWS's blog) about a major problem with literary agents: That they're not lawyers, but they're engaged in the practice of law. That state's Supreme Court defines the unauthorized practice of law as including "act[ing] in a representative capacity in protecting, enforcing, or defending the legal rights and duties of another and in counseling, advising and assisting [another] in connection with these rights and duties." People v. Shell, 148 P.3d 162, 170–71 (Colo. 2006); accord, Colo. R. Civ. Proc. 201.3(2) (listing activities requiring bar membership). The literary agent in question does not appear to be a lawyer. A literary agent who claims that mere experience in the field is good enough is... ignorant. At best. Unless, that is, said agent knows the limits of his/her knowledge and actually refers questions to counsel (and not just any lawyer, either — one who specializes in concentrates his/her practice in intellectual property licensing).

    This is yet another example of why literary agents should be regulated and licensed, at a minimum. Although the primary job of a literary agent is arranging for and administering licenses for intellectual property, too damned many literary agents can't even pronounce some of those terms (I'm not slamming Brooklyn accents) and pretend to knowledge, skill, and sophistication that they don't have. (That many publishers' "contracting representatives" are even worse is no excuse.) I could go on for hours in just summarizing the pitfalls in publishers' contracts — silly things like failing to define "book" resulting in massive later litigation and continuing confusion.

You could, of course, just try the Middle East peace plan I implemented this weekend:

Mezze of spicy Greek olives and Tunisian dates
Boneless shoulder of lamb (kosher), gently stewed with northern Persian herbs and spices
Iraqi pickled vegetables
Mixed Israeli and Palestinian couscous, garnished with Meyer lemon and fresh mint
Turkish coffee

Just as in the wider world, though, there wasn't enough Middle East Peace to go around...