Monstrosities

…and I’m not just talking about the Modernist buildings, either.  My own loathing of this architectural form is, I think, well documented (here, here).

What Theodore Dalrymple talks about is how awful the first actual Modernist architects were:  Gropius, Van Der Rohe and of course, the execrable Le Corbusier (to name but three) were all either pure totalitarians (Le Corbusier) or Nazi sympathizers and supporters.  But we all knew that.

What Dalrymple explains further is how this “school” of architectural thought has turned into the leitmotif  of all modern architectural teaching (just as Marxism has infected the liberal arts disciplines):

[He] knows that he is arguing not against an aesthetic, but against an ironclad ideology. The architectural Leninists have been determined so to indoctrinate the public that they hope and expect a generation will grow up knowing nothing but modernism, and therefore will be unable to judge it. (All judgment is comparative, as Doctor Johnson said.) In Paris recently, I saw an advertisement on the Métro (a few days before the fire in Notre-Dame) to the effect that Paris would not be Paris without the Centre Pompidou—which, of course, has a good claim to be the ugliest building in the world. In the face of such an advertisement promoted by the cultural elite, what ordinary person would dare demur?

That description of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, by the way, is not egregious:

…and that’s the “pretty” side. Here’s the hideous one:

I am also heartened by Dalrymple’s characterization of the horrible Tour Montparnasse  as “said to be the most hated building in Paris” (and with good reason):

Never a jihadi-piloted airliner when you need one…

Read the Dalrymple piece for the full horror.

Panic? Nazzo Fast, Guido

So… according to “Science”, a million species are going to become extinct in the next x years, Unless We Do Something About It.

There’s a word that describes sweeping statements like this.  What is it?  Ummm, nearly there, tip o’ my tongue… oh, that’s right:  it’s bullshit.  Let’s look at some of the numbers, courtesy of Mr. Jack Hellner:

Faunalytics, a group that helps save endangered animals, has only 3,000 animals on its endangered species list, so there’s reason to ask questions. Start with this: where does the one million number come from?
The public has repeatedly been told that humans are causing thousands of animals to go extinct each year, yet a study by National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2015 found only 477 identified species that have gone extinct since 1900, or around four per year.

There’s a lot more at the link;  go and see some even greater lies.

Here’s the takeaway, though:  every time — I mean every single time — that some organization starts screaming hysterically that We’re All Gonna DIIIIEEEEEE!!! Unless We Do Something NOW ! (and usually that “something” will be against our best interests, by the way), we should pull out our whips (both literal and metaphorical) and start beating these assholes like a dirty carpet.

And if those doomsayers are from any U.N.-related organizations, we should substitute spiked clubs* for whips.


*Waddya mean, you don’t have a spiked club?  Sheesh, do I have to do everything around here?

 

Eye-Fucking

By the way, when did this bullshit become acceptable?

and:

I know, it’s supposed to do… what, exactly?  Fuck with my eyesight?

This works perfectly:

Rule #1 of photography:  no damn unfocused blurriness, unless for effect — and then it must be the focal point of the pic.

Blurring the borders just makes my head ache after a while, and I loathe this affectation with a passion.

Iniquitous Theft

I was watching some stupid BBC-TV show about how a titled earl’s mansion was saved from ruin only by royal intervention (Prince Charles and his Prince’s Trust), and how the place was restored to its former glory and was now in essence a museum (said earl having relinquished title to the property many decades ago).

Which house and which earl is not important.  What was not said was why the place had to be abandoned in the first place, which can be summed up in just two words:  inheritance taxes.

Of all instances of government bastardy — and there are thousands — this is the one which gets my goat, because there are two major principles in play, and neither of them is good.

1)  The State decides that your property doesn’t really belong to you, so the gummint takes part of it it away from you (or more properly, from your heirs) after your death and puts it into their coffers.  It’s nothing less than fucking theft, pure and simple.

2)  The principle that “unearned income” — i.e. that your wealth gets passed on to your heirs, who didn’t work for it and therefore it should be treated as a windfall — is a bad thing because it simply perpetuates the wealth inequality of society.  The underlying Marxist lie that underpins this idea is self-explanatory:  that wealth is a finite quantity, and that keeping it in the family prevents others in society from benefiting from it.  (Never mind that history shows that almost all  great fortunes are dissipated within four — and usually three — generations because of multiple heirs, wastage, poor judgement and so on.)

What we also know is that inheritance taxes do not affect the very wealthy much, if at all, because they protect their property by a multitude of (perfectly-legal) tax avoidance schemes.  Instead, the taxes hit the middle classes (and especially family business owners and farmers) hardest of all.

So it’s all very well for HRH the Prince of Wales to come riding in on his faerie chariot and save some great house from ruin, when in fact it was the policies of his (and his forerunners’) government that was the principle cause of that ruin in the first place.

Just so we know the extent of the villainy:  the family was going to be forced to sell off the household effects to help pay the bills.  Which sounds trivial except that the earl was the owner of the largest collection of Chippendale furniture in the world (simply because the fifth earl had seen the first-ever catalog of the Chippendale Brothers furniture company in the 1750s, liked what he saw and bought hundreds of pieces of the stuff for his new country home, and all of which had stayed in the house ever since).  To give you an idea of its worth:  just one large glass-fronted bookcase — now being used to house some of the family’s equally-valuable china — would have fetched at auction around £20 million, and each of the hundreds of Chippendale chairs around £50,000… yes, each.

All the household goods had been packed up in an eighteen-wheeler, and were actually halfway to the auction house in London when the truck was intercepted and turned back to the house.  All very heroic stuff — and all completely unnecessary.

What’s interesting is that here in Murka, where we don’t even have titles and such, the popular antipathy towards inheritance taxes is profound — something like 80% of people polled hate the very idea of it, even though the vast majority of people are unlikely ever to be affected by inheritance taxes.

That’s because we’re not stupid, and we can recognize theft when we see it.  It’s the principle of the matter, and as this nation was founded upon principle, we can recognize its villainy where other countries’ inhabitants might not.


By the way, here’s the Wikipedia entry for Dumfries House.

Unwanted Contact

I have spoken before about my distaste for men hugging each other (other than family).  Even Doc Russia, who despite his fearsome appearance is a hugger, only gets a brief one-armer from me, and even that only because he is one of my closest friends.  Maybe I’m a closet Brit:

In today’s touchy-feely society, it may seem like everyone is hugging and planting kisses on each other.
But people are still only comfortable with a formal introductory handshake with a study finding British reserve is alive and well when meeting people for the first time.
A demonstrative hug or continental double kiss is unlikely to go down well, as we are really only comfortable with strangers touching just our hands.
Researchers asked people to mark, on a computer, the parts of their body, front and back, that those in their lives were allowed to touch.
British people had no problem with close relatives and friends touching their face or upper torso when giving them a hug, but did not want strangers to do the same.

No kidding.  This is where, despite my French surname, I part ways with my heritage.  Men doing the kissy-cheeks thing?  Fuck that.

It amazes me that in a time when we seem to be drifting apart from each other, that this unwarranted intimacy is becoming more popular — or maybe the first is the cause of the second, I dunno.

I only hug women, and only women whom I’ve known for a long time or who are intimates (e.g. are themselves close friends, or are married to same), and there is considerable  overlap between the two groups.

But men?  Nu-uh… it just feels wrong.  Some amateur/professional psychologists — once again, overlap — are doubtless going to ascribe this trait to either latent homosexuality or [gasp!] homophobia, but at the best of times I don’t care what other people think of me (and psycho-weenies least of all).  Hugging men feels strange, and I don’t like strange.

A good, firm handshake is all we men need.  Leave the huggy-kissy bullshit to the Frogs and fags [yes, again some overlap].   Hell, I’d even feel uncomfortable giving a hug to Carol Vorderman, and y’all know what I think of her.

Of course I’d hug her;  but only if she asked me to.  I have standards.

Another Victory For Automation

Somebody remind me again how this “self-drive car” thing is supposed to help us, save lives, end Glueball Wormening and bring Peace To Mankind, etc. etc. etc.?  Especially when we have crap like this happening to these “A.I.” systems?

The investigation into a fatal plane crash in Ethiopia has zeroed in on suspicion that a faulty sensor triggered an automated anti-stall system, sending the plane into a dive.
The Federal Aviation Administration received black box flight data from Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 on Thursday, indicating that the MCAS anti-stall system was activated shortly before the crash.
The same system was implicated in the crash of another Boeing 737 Max in October in Indonesia, Lion Air Flight 610.
The MCAS is designed to push the nose of the plane down when sensors indicate that the ‘angle of attack’ is too steep, and the plane in in danger of stalling – but investigators are now probing whether a faulty sensor activated the system during a normal climb, sources say.

This, and especially after we hear that a.) the “safety” feature (i.e. pilot override) was available as an (expensive) option on the system, and b.) the pilots of said doomed airliners appear not to have had, shall we say, adequate  training on the system.

Don’t even get me started on cock-ups like the faulty reservation systems, which have been in place since at least  the 1970s, are one of the simplest programs in existence, and they still  fall over occasionally.  (Adding features which screw paying customers over*, however, doesn’t seem to have been a problem at all.)

Color me skeptical on all this stuff.  Hell, I don’t even care for automatic gearboxes, let alone “self-drive” systems.  “Faulty sensor”, my pale African-American ass.


*British Airways, among others, has a cute little sub-routine when you book two or more tickets at a time that automatically ensures that none of your booked seats are next to each other.  So guess what?  You have to go back into the system and pay extra  for that “privilege” of sitting next to your wife or kids.  That  automatic program, I’ll wager, works perfectly every time.