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June 2008 Archives

June 8, 2008

Hey, weren't we supposed to be dead by now?

Contrary to popular belief, Robert Conquest did not actually suggest I Told You So, You Fucking Fools as one possible title for an updated edition of his book The Great Terror. But, hey, that means it's still available if Michael Fumento ever wants to follow up on his universally denounced 1990 book The Myth of Heterosexual AIDS.

(Global warming? Of course it's real! It's not like we've ever seen leftists, science popularizers, and gullible journalists band together to blow some global threat way out of proportion and vilify skeptics as borderline murderers, have we?)

What would Jesus do?

Flying Spaghetti MonsterA troubled unbeliever writes to Slate's advice columnist:

I have been an atheist for the last several years, ever since losing my (Christian) faith following a close friend's untimely death. Recently, my boss's mother told me about a serious and risky surgery that her other child would soon have. After I said to her, "I'll keep him in my thoughts," she responded, "Oh, would you please pray for him?" I said yes, and she began talking about her belief in the power of prayer, a belief I once would have shared. At the time, I wanted to comfort her in any way that I could, so I agreed with what she said. Also, it hardly would have been appropriate to launch into a "Why I'm an Atheist" speech. Later, though, I felt very uncomfortable with the fact that I'd lied and acted as if I shared her beliefs. Is this kind of thing a no-win situation? -Not a Believer

Emily Yoffe gives pretty much the only answer possible to N.A.B.: in such circumstances (and with an interlocutor who is your boss's mother), you shouldn't feel bad about momentarily opting not to play the asshole village atheist. What's interesting here is the play of incentives. People like "Not a Believer" get backed into corners like this a great deal less often if they do, in fact, signal their atheism aggressively in everyday life. (HEY GUYS CHECK OUT MY NEW DARWIN FISH) The more ostensively superfluous signaling you do, the less likely you are to have to face some painful choice, at an awkward, emotionally high-leverage moment, between lying and offending somebody. This suggests two things that most of us (believers or not) may not have considered: (1) Village-atheist types potentially have good personal reasons beyond mere bolshiness for acting that way, and (2) their frantic signalling can actually be considered a benefit to Christians, who, by it, gain useful foreknowledge that they should not trust/confide in/impose upon a particular acquaintance.

June 9, 2008

New @ Full Comment

Tips on how to establish a "voice" in the national media. I still owe you all a round-up of the stuff I worked on for the previous two weeks there, don't let me forget.

June 12, 2008

Seeing as it's 2008...

Eric Brewer...I demand, I say demand, to know why one-time-future-All-Star Eric Brewer still isn't really worth a hot shit on a summer's day. When I criticized Brewer back in the Time of Troubles for being an oversized nonentity, his defenders rushed to tell me all about what a great shooter he was: any of you guys want to check on his goal-scoring total from last season (playing nearly 25 minutes a night) and give me the same spiel? Do a -18 plus-minus, a -6 Corsi number [explanation], and a 2:1 penalties taken-drawn ratio (with 87 PIM) look like Hall of Fame credentials to you? No, wait, lemme guess, he's only 29 so it's crazy to think he's reached his peak.

June 13, 2008

Oh, and congratulations to the Professional Hockey Writers' Association

...for giving Jason Blake the prestigious annual NHL trophy for Having a Disease That Is Entirely Treatable With a Daily Dose of Oral Medication and Doesn't Interfere With the Patient's Training Regimen or Playing Ability. You've defended the principle that nothing relevant can happen in hockey outside of Toronto with admirable vigour.

June 15, 2008

New @ Full Comment

More locavore skepticism, this time from environmental engineers at Carnegie-Mellon.

June 18, 2008

How to spot a genuine Glenn Gould signature

If it's spelled correctly, it's probably fake. (Sample here.)

A peek at a CRTC license hearing

...where the prevailing mood is apparently "Ha ha ha, we're handing out monopolies in an incredibly whimsical and absurd fashion!"

That big Coshery roundup I promised is here

I probably linked to some of these already, but they'll give you a chance to look for anything you might have missed...

Date: May 16
Hed: The Supreme Court's young-offender decision: All bets are off for journalists
Keywords: youth justice, teenaged murderers, R. v. D.B., reverse onus, publication bans, Marshall Rothstein, look ma, s.7 confers positive rights

Date: May 23
Hed: Let Oscar run
Keywords: Pistorius, South African, no legs, sprinter, carbon-fibre blades, Court of Arbitration for Sport, Les MacPherson was an incredibly good sport about the whole thing

Date: May 23
Hed: Barbara Kay vs. Mary Jane
Keywords: marijuana, legalize it, editorial board response, made-up statistics about potency

Date: May 29
Hed: Stifling abortion debate on campus defiles a house of liberal study
Keywords: pro-life, student fees, freedom of speech, student-politician wankers, York University, sexism as capital crime

Date: May 30
Hed: The necessity of HUMINT
Keywords: Canadian Forces, military intelligence, secrets, budgets, espionage, Afghanistan, Dawn Black, NDP, Taliban, sometimes hard to tell the difference

Date: June 4
Hed: Copenhagen Consensus: Focus on undernourished children, not your carbon footprint
Keywords: Climate change, Third World, micronutrients, vitamin A, zinc, iron, folic acid, HIV, AIDS, retroviral drugs, Bjorn Lomborg, iodized salt, mitigation vs. adaptation, how about we make sure everybody eats

Date: June 6
Hed: In B.C., sock puppets behaving badly
Keywords: Maclean's, Muslims, Human Rights Tribunal, Khurrum Awan, Mark Steyn, Julian Porter, caught telling porkies

Date: June 6
Hed: The folly of carbon taxes
Keywords: Cap-and-trade, Dalton McGuinty, Jean Charest, progressivity vs. effectiveness, loopholes, NEP 2, great timing Stéphane

Date: June 13
Hed: Censoring B. C.'s health care jewel
Keywords: evidence-based medicine, no free lunch, Therapeutics Initiative, big pharma, Vioxx, George Abbott, dumbest idea ever

June 19, 2008

Tomorrow's headlines today!

"I'm always the doubter at the magic table, looking for hidden panels or trick mirrors, but a one-on-one meeting with [Keith] Barry a few weeks ago left me convinced he's the real thing," writes the Star's theatre critic. Yeah, buddy, you've got some awe-inspiring powers of skepticism there. Incidentally, do you find yourself giving people two dimes for a nickel very often?

Three and a half downs

My signed column runs a day early this week: it asks the penetrating question "If 50 million Englishmen can support seven thousand soccer teams, why the hell shouldn't it be possible for Toronto to support two teams playing two slightly different kinds of football?"

June 22, 2008

As a matter of fact I do own the road

Y'ever notice that Ontario is plagued with a lot more aboriginal protest blockades than, say, Alberta and the B.C. interior? I think it's partly due to a subtle cultural difference.

June 26, 2008

Cultural cringe alive and well in Canada

Mark Spector's "CFL preview" column, an extended rumination on why it's crazy to pay attention to the CFL, may contain a couple of good points amidst the dozen or so clichés—but isn't the central argument frightfully limp?

Let's face it. The Canadian Football League has always been a bit bush league. That is part of what has made it so lovable.

Where else can you watch your kid's high school teacher protect the quarterback, or your financial planner kicking field goals? What other pro league has players who make less money than many of the fans?

I'll answer Mark's question and we'll see if I can get an answer to mine. What other pro league has players who make less money than many of the fans? Well, let's see: this describes arena football, Australian rules football, county cricket, most of the league soccer being played on the planet at any given moment, minor-league and independent baseball, curling, drag racing, sprint-car racing, rugby (both kinds), most European basketball, Korean and Taiwanese pro baseball, rodeo, most mixed martial arts and professional boxing, club chess, and non-PGA tour golf. Admittedly it took me like two whole minutes to come up with that list. Rich professional athletes must be outnumbered about 10,000 to one by the ones who don't play in leagues or associations that have billion-dollar budgets and global reach. I'm afraid I don't see much hope in arguing with the Pareto distribution.

As far as I know, few other countries feel the need to constantly interrogate their own regional and national sporting preferences the way Canadians do. Nor is it considered a bad thing for basketball and soccer that there are many, many competitive basketball and soccer leagues operating at all levels of attention and remuneration. Which brings me to my question: why would it be inappropriate or shameful for a "bush league" to exist in a country that is, by surface area, roughly 99% actual bush?

[LATE BONUS QUESTION #1: Isn't there a certain... well, let's call it tension... between Spector's demand for full-time officials, better stadiums, etc. and his complaints about tacky advertisements on the field? The CFL's supposed to "mature" and, implicitly, compete with the NFL while playing in a smaller, poorer country and rejecting all the revenue sources that the No Fun League finds beneath its dignity? Given its inherent disadvantages, I would favour the CFL wallpapering the field, the uniforms, and Gainer the Gopher's butt with as many ads per square foot as NASCAR or European hockey. Wouldn't that be much more tolerable than selling out the names of public facilities (already being done) and the championship trophy (we're told it's inevitable)? Is there a modest chance it would yield more money for the league than, say, giving Reebok exclusive control of uniform design?

[BONUS QUESTION #2: Spector complains that the league did a piss-poor job of protecting Ricky Ray's safety through disciplinary incentives. Doesn't he know that about 80% of the Eskimo fan base were probably hoping Ray wouldn't get up from the hit? Amazing but true: the Edmonton talk radio airwaves are still, in 2008, dominated by callers who think the repatriated Jason Maas should be starting ahead of Ray. This after Ray won the championship game (his second) directly over their protests in 2005 and remained pretty much the league's top passer until the 15 sacks a night eventually got to him; meanwhile, Maas was going 5-22 as the starter in Hamilton.]

About June 2008

This page contains all entries posted to ColbyCosh.com in June 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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