24 October 2021

Context-Challenged Link Sausage Platter

These link sausages have something in common: They all arise from, or in one instance acknowledge and discuss, ignorance of context.

  • If you actually need proof that a degree from a certain law school near Boston bears little relationship to "wisdom," consider this utterly moronic proposal to emblazon the Supreme Court's building with a person's name. Leaving aside that "legendary jurists" are just as likely to have feet of clay — not to mention investment portfolios of clay, genitals of clay, and personal peccadillos of pyrite — as any other political figure, naming that building after any individual runs entirely counter to the purpose of a court. In a court, everyone is to be judged under the law; yes, by fallible human beings, some more fallible than others, but the purpose is specifically to take disputes out of the ordinary hands of humanity. Naming a court building after someone who just by being human couldn't possibly meet the ultimate standard of the function of the building is stupid.

    And not to pick excessively on the choice of individual in the article, but there are distinct segments of society harmed by Justice Harlan's jurisprudence. Some of those I don't care about; others I don't know about, because I make no pretense to understand everything; others, however, like individual creators and political dissidents, I do. For all of the dissents he authored, some of the issues on which Harlan neither authored nor joined a dissent should get much greater scrutiny. Not to mention that I'm viscerally offended by the article's claim that "branding" should or does have a damned thing to do with proper functioning or reputation of any court. Indeed, one of the fundamental jurisprudential problems that has arisen in the last century is the dubious treatment of inference and implication in the context of the First Amendment. But that will have to wait for another time.

  • Even that foolishness, though, is closer to acknowledging context than a lot of other things. Consider, for example, the term "infrastructure," and the stoooooooooopid battles in Congress over the meaning of the term so as to either legitimize or delegitimize inclusion of some "human aspect" provisions in a bill to enhance American infrastructure. Yeah, sure, let's help deal with climate change by using electric cars! Who's gonna repair 'em? More to the point, who's gonna pay for the education (not just follow-the-repair-instructions training, which is also required) of the mechanics… especially as battery technology, and hence the repair processes, change even further? (Sure as hell not DeVos et al. with their focus on preparing high school students for only today's "good factory jobs"… which have all been exported to other nations anyway.)

    Not to beat a dead horse(less carriage) any further than I've been doing on this blawg for the last couple of decades, and its predecessor before that: The principle advantage American armed forces have had in combat since the last time this nation was actually invaded two centuries ago has been that American troops have had organic maintenance-and-adaptation/jury-rigging capability second to none. This has been because the American education system has always included elements of both book-larnin' and wrench-bendin' in it. Each element informs the other; tanks — and nukes — must be both invented and maintained…

  • And then there's the single widespread "sporting activity" that continues to revel in its history of bigotry, class-exclusion, and outright disdain for everyone who doesn't partake of it. No, not fox-hunting (which is close, but not a continued widespread "sporting activity"): the ruination of Sunday walks (and "Sunday walk" is, itself, an interestingly exclusionary phenomenon). This article doesn't even begin to touch other issues, such as fertilizer runoff and water consumption, or the inbredsane history of overt racism and sexism. Or the NIMBY aspects once a course has been constructed. Or, perhaps worst of all, the sheer number of polyesters that had to die to make golf attire — especially the contemporary "performance" varieties (although far be it for me to complain about mixing plaids and eyeshatteringly-bright tropical prints).