28 April 2022

Some Assembly Required

The instructions for this monstrous platter of sausages were lovingly translated from Singapore-dialect Chinese by 1.85m-tall Scandanavian men who know little about doing assembly away from a well-equipped shop. And presented in an order incomprehensible to anyone who has ever worked with tools in the field.

  • Will Smith has been banned from attending the Oscar broadcast ceremonies for a decade, which rather sounds like a reward for his part in two-wrongs-make-a-wrong nonsense. Of course, that penalty entirely neglects the real cause: Turning an award ceremony into entertainment instead of celebration.
  • Which sure beats further ways to screw over musicians and composers emerging from the world of 'streaming' companies, but who am I to criticize a New! Improved! HiTech! industry that's operating exactly like its 1950s ancestor? It reminds one of the Wendy's ad campaign for chicken nuggets of a few decades back; as far as streaming vendors are concerned, bits are bits. And not nearly as important as inflated pigs' bladders kicked from one village green to another.
  • Including the structural dodges, like "incorporating somewhere away from actual operations to avoid government scrutiny"… or personal jurisdiction sufficient to support prosecution for fencing stolen property. Unfortunately, the current conflict 1800km to the east — and the attempts by the SovietRussian government to deal with critics — demonstrate that prohibiting conduct like this would have far-reaching side effects that are perhaps worse.
  • Then there's the borderline sociopathy of art forgers to consider. This nudges near sociopathy not from "getting a kick" out of the res, but out of exploiting it… economically. It concerns the difficult "pure copy versus inspiration" problem.
  • That is, yet another reflection of product versus process. n.b. I'm no fan of Eagleton's own theorizing, which far too often involved the literary equivalent of p-hacking — often p-hacking for a good cause, or at least against a bad one, but that's discernable only with perfect hindsight.
  • <SARCASM> Of course, lawyers would never do that. It's dishonest. The British exam system wants to resemble the bar exam system Over Here when it can finally get a complete grip on society. (And let's not forget the LSAT "problem" for admissions, either… and I say that as someone who can have had no sour grapes about LSAT scores at all. Just about the experience of the disingenuously nonrigorous test itself, including the trip to and from the test site and, umm, "related circumstances.") </SARCASM>
  • It's all just GIGO. Anyone with any familiarity with statistical mechanics at all can describe the obvious methodological problem with even this easiest-of-all applications of corpus linguistics — a mechanism that is at best capable of excluding implausible meanings. Pondering for even 30 seconds the possibility that that same data set is often used to intentionally deceive, or at least reinforce selection bias should rather complete the refutation.

    And the less said about "original public meaning textualism" from a couple centuries back, when the "public" that preserved its thoughts in writings to which we have access today was a self-selecting, ardently non-representative sample and not a population (meaning that all of the statistical tools need to be reconsidered for both validity and meaning in context, a rather ironic interpretive reflexiveness in itself)…

  • After that platter, it's time for dessert. Perhaps a chocolate gateaux? It should surprise no one that my preference is for extremely dark, and unsweetened (or at most bittesweet), confectionary. A ganache of tax policies for just the right kinds of furriners. Between-layers buttercream frosting surveilling political opponents (long before any plumbing problems at the Watergate Hotel). An entirely bittersweet layer of cake buried in the middle where no one from the outside sees it. Not to mention a menu description that bears no resemblance to what is actually served up — not flavor, not nutritional profile, not quantity, not price. And certainly not quality or attentiveness of service, let alone consideration of alternatives. No tyre-company stars for you!