A Danish translation of the best early J&M strips was launched last week. The first printing sold out within days, and there’s a second run coming out on 3 March. Pre-order your copy here.


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Discussion (87)¬

  1. henry+Ford says:

    I guess they always drink stout because it is black and white.

  2. jerry+www says:

    When we are able to find the words religion, logic and reason on the same page, these may well be the “End Days” the yahoos of the world rant on about.

  3. nothere says:

    Is misrepresent the same as interpret ?

  4. martin_z says:

    Heard a good example of that misrepresentation on Radio 4 this morning. Not sure who was being interviewed, but he was being challenged on the idea that someone who is personally offended when he sees a picture of Mohammed might just be being over-sensitive; he replied with words to the effect that that was typical of the secular agenda which hates religion.

    I was steaming about that all the way to work. And I don’t think I was being over-sensitive.

  5. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    The science of misrepresentation
    Is the basis of scientific abomination
    Financial grants to scientific shills
    Will cure the world’s ills
    Mores studies, less work, academic elation.

  6. white+squirrel says:

    maybe the world would not be perfect if the meme cancer of religion was cured
    but it would be a major improvement

    they always drink stout –
    you shouldnt say that lest it incur an deathwa
    best call it cola /cool aid/ vimto

  7. Congratulations on your triumph in Copenhagen, Author.

    Is it time to recognize that Nassar has invented his own poetic form? I propose we call a poem in his style a “joudja” as in “I’ve composed a houdja”, a short poem with two rhyming couplets showing no consistent meter or scansion, followed by a line that rhymes with the first line, the whole creating an impression of running over a field of golf balls in bare feet. Others may wish to elaborate on this definition of a joudja.
    Lest this comment be taken as mean spirited, I wish to state that I’ve come to admire the work of our resident poet and think he really does deserve a style designated in his honour. It’s a talent.

  8. white+squirrel says:

    better faith in logic and reason
    than unreason and illogic in faith

  9. white+squirrel says:

    misrepresenting the veiws of the religious is not actually possible
    beleivers veiws are so broad ranging that any representation of religious veiws will be accurate for some beleivers, somewhere, at some time.

  10. Here is my take on religion and science regarding Global Warming & Climate Change. Satire, but a lot of facts about America’s disdain for and denial of science. The source of the denial is, of course, religion, trying to take us back into the Dark Ages. http://www.ruthlessreviews.com/28045/abcs-global-warming-climate-change-edition/

  11. smee says:

    I went in to a bookshop today and spotted a book, titled “The Case For god” ;deliberate lower case for god. The blurb on the back, stated that for some reason? (fairies,demons, homosexuals, lesbians, immigrants from secular countries!Satan and his followers? The author’s stated reason however was millitant athiests(Those filthy moral degenerates, perverts, child shaggers and people who burn people alive). Apparently A large proportion of the population of the UK, no longer believe in gods because of these social deviants!

    Would it be too cruel/ unkind to point out that the reason for this situation is the “enlightenment” ?

  12. smee says:

    Although I have to say. Its nice to have Islam and be able to openly attack a clearly identifiable enemy of rational thought! Unlike in the 80’s and 90’s when it was impossible to speak out against the poisonous and pernicous enemies of free thought that invaded the UK from US academia, (that are the roots of our problems today)
    namely Political correctness and Radical feminism!

  13. white+squirrel says:

    Radical feminism!

    as opposed to penis worshipping radical masculinism [=Abrahamic religion ]
    do you mean Smee?

  14. two cents' worth says:

    DH, is it joudja or houdja (named for Nassar Ben Houdja)? If it’s joudja, is it safe to assume that the word rhymes with Nassar’s last name?

    Nassar, how do you pronounce “Houdja”? Thank you for sharing your poetry. I find it hard to write poetry, so I respect you for composing poems to comment on so many of the J&M comics.

  15. two cents’ worth, o damn. That was just a typo. I meant to spell it “houdja”. exactly like Nassar’s last name except without the capital letter.
    I hate typos, especially when I make them.

    smee, I think I qualify as a radical feminist. I’ll thank you not to bring that MRA bullshit into the C&B. It will cause a certain amount of aggressive behavior, at least from me.

    Ophelia, I second that. Bravo Copenhagen.

  16. Shaughn says:


    Re the discussion on the previous page: ‘has always been’ does not logically imply “will allways be”. Just one tiny impredictable mutation might alter all of that.

    Probably I am one of these crazy fundamentalist science and logic hypocrites?

  17. white+squirrel says:

    Darwin+Harmless says:
    I qualify as a radical feminist.

    Is that TERF or sane RF, Darwin?

  18. white-squirrel, my radical feminism excludes nobody, including men. So I would hope to be a sane RF.

    “(that are the roots of our problems today)
    namely Political correctness and Radical feminism!” – smee

    BTW, “political correctness” = being sensitive to the feelings of others and finding a way to express opinions without resorting to racial and gender based slurs or demeaning language. It does not take away my freeze peach. Those who complain about political correctness are just asking for permission to be jerks. It’s hardly a cause of all our problems.

    Those who complain about political correctness will also often conflate it with cultural relativism, which is total nonsense. There are aspects of other cultures which deserve to be condemned as barbaric and horrible – FGM leaps to mind. It isn’t political correctness that prevents a person from arguing against these practices. It’s apologists using the excuse of cultural relativism.

    Similarly, there is nothing wrong with multiculturalism. My partner and I performed at a combination Robert Burns Day and Chinese New Year celebration this past month. (There was a lion sword dance. Plus kilted pipers and an address to the haggis. Oh yes, and haggis wontons. What fun) That is multiculturalism. Come to my country and bring your language, celebrations, and ceremonies with you. But also, obey our standards of human rights and our laws that forbid honour killing and FGM. Those who complain about multiculturalism are usually coming from a place of xenophobia.

    Here endeth the rant for today. 🙂

  19. Shaughn says:

    Darwin Harmless, “political correctness” = being sensitive to the feelings of others and finding a way to express opinions without resorting to racial and gender based slurs or demeaning language. is what in this country once was known as politeness.
    Here, these days political correctness equals howling with the dominant wolves, n’importe their political, social, racial, cultural and/or gender views. Any dissenting sound, however polite, is considered jerkish.

    I wish your equation was correct here.

  20. Alastair says:

    We’re in danger of getting a bit off topic here. I hope that those of who frequent the C&B because of a shared interest in atheism can respect the fact that we will have a diverse range of views on other political and philosophical matters. I am a very staunch atheist who is also a firm climate sceptic, a not all uncommon combination. When all PC means is being polite I am all for it. Unfortunately too often today it means the “no platform” suppression of anyone who dares to express a view not congruent with the left liberal consensus. There are plenty of other webfora to discuss such issues. Let’s stick here to being righteously angry about religion.

  21. Thomas says:

    It seems that nearly all the time that people moan about “political correctness” are usually very privilaged people pretending that by dumping on people you face systematic suckyness they are really making a bold stand against a sinister global conspiracy which by a remarkable coincidences is run by the very people you hated anyway. They then somehow manage to get most of newpapers to have front pages where they complain about how oppressed and censored they are and somehow are not deafened by the spoinging of irony meters.

    The topic of this is another example of whether one can actually proove something being almost irrelevant. I think is largely due to the media falling back of cheaper option of surveys and copy from marketers and lobbyists far then the much harder and more expensive thing of actually doing their job.

  22. plainsuch says:

    one of these crazy fundamentalist science and logic hypocrites

    I’m not sure what one of those is. It appears that you have left empirical reality on a ballistic trajectory to philosophy and religion. Is that what you meant?

    Re the discussion on the previous page: ‘has always been’ does not logically imply “will allways be”. Just one tiny impredictable mutation might alter all of that.

    “has always been” -> “a miracle occurs at some indefinite point” -> “DNA can replicate itself an infinite number of times without a single error”

    That’s not falsifiable so I suppose that, philosophically, it is a possibility. But it’s highly improbable that one tiny mutation could achieve that. And, if your odds of surviving each single year are 99.99% the odds of surviving a million years are 3.7 x 10(to the power of)-44 . You are going to need another miracle.

  23. plainsuch says:

    I’m a Radical Humanist.

  24. Shaughn says:

    Plainsuch, I think I fit Jesus and Mo’s description here above. As for It appears that you have left empirical reality on a ballistic trajectory to philosophy and religion – I’m just applying Popper and logic.

    DNA can replicate etc – ‘can’ is not the same as ‘will’ and there is no way that you (or I, for that matter) can be sure it always will. Odds are in favour of ‘it will not’ – hence the recent evolution of the past few million years on this planet only.

  25. HaggisForBrains says:

    DH – I’m honoured! But now I’ve got wontons on the brain.

  26. white+squirrel says:

    Political correctness
    in the west this means ‘state enforced politeness’
    In Islamic nations it is spelt ‘mutawai’in’

    “my radical feminism excludes nobody, including men”
    very clever double connotated answer concerning T folk Darwin : )

  27. white+squirrel says:

    *answer concerning [the perceived gender assignation status of] T

  28. white+squirrel says:

    Poltical correctness
    a form of convoluted mental gynastics that enables the simultaneous condemnation of both islamaphobia & homophobia

    that islamic restrictions on female legal/social status and public presence enables them in a feminist way

  29. Mary2 says:

    Thank you to the supporters of that most unfashionable trait – political correctness. How dare anyone actually stop to consider the hurt and harm their words will do before uttering them! I mean, it’s asking a bit much in a civilised society, isn’t it? /end sarcasm

  30. Shaugn: “Here, these days political correctness equals howling with the dominant wolves, n’importe their political, social, racial, cultural and/or gender views. Any dissenting sound, however polite, is considered jerkish.”

    Of course it is possible to be ever so polite and still express politically incorrect opinions. For example: I’m not a racist, but blacks were better off under slavery. Women just can’t do the same work as men, so they shouldn’t be paid as much. There’s nothing wrong with being gay but they should keep it to themselves and not shove it down our throats. (I always love that last one. The images…)

    My perceptions of the situation is that those who complain about political correctness are really asking for permission to express odious opinions with impunity. I’m all for “howling with the dominant wolves”. (Nice turn of phrase, that.)

    Mary2, my love for you and your sarcasm continues to grow.

  31. Mary2 says:

    DH, If sarcasm is the lowest form of wit then I am definitely the lowest.

    I am interested in the new phenomenon that we now need to label sarcasm with an emoticon or [/end sarcasm] and wonder whether this is directly related to much conversation now being in written form which cuts out all those non-word cues which convey most of the meaning of what we say, or whether it is a result of new styles of written communication – SMS, Twitter – which lead to truncated sentences (TLDR) and, therefore a reduction of nuance. I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of others who may remember how we, in the olden days of writing letters, communicated ideas such as sarcasm and irony where the words themselves don’t necessarily convey the meaning. Were we just better writers/readers back then?

    (Thanks for the image of gays shoving gayness down people’s throats – THAT symbolism has not occurred to me before!)

  32. Mary2 says:

    DH, agree totally about the ability to be both polite and non-PC. I cringe whenever I hear someone start a sentence with ‘Our Indigenous brothers’ or ‘Some of my best friends are’ because one just knows that whatever follows these two friendly-seeming pronouncements is not going to be pretty.

  33. Mary2, I think the problem with sarcasm is mostly that we express it with tone and emphasis when speaking, plus gestures and winks and facial expressions. We can do this to some extent with writing, by adding emphasis, but since a sarcastic comment is insincere, i.e. we state the opposite of what we mean, we need a definite indication of that insincerity. Sometimes context makes it obvious, as in when a Christian family expels a gay child and somebody comments “Such Christian love.” But I’ve made the mistake several times of taking people’s sarcasm for sincere statements and shitting all over the commenter before they have a chance to clarify.
    It’s interesting that children don’t understand sarcasm. Their understanding is too literal to comprehend a statement that is not intended to be taken literally.

  34. white+squirrel says:

    “Such Christian love.”
    on a par with islam being “a religion of peace”

  35. Theo H says:

    Alistair : “I am a very staunch atheist who is also a firm climate sceptic, a not all uncommon combination.”

    The problem with that statement are the reasons behind those positions. i would argue that the reason for being an aethiest is incredibly important. If you are an aetheist who is an aethiest on any similar basis to those who are religious, then it will clearly impact your views in other areas i.e. if you are an aethiest due to “faith” that being an aethesit is the correct position, or simply for social support etc. then that says little about your view of life… the statement that you are a “firm climate sceptic”, seems to indicate that your position of aethiesm is not founded on particularly solid ground. It is ironic that the current cartoon is about the misunderstanding of the foundations for a position of aethiesm relate to similar mis-thinking.

    If one bases one’s view of the world on a rational, empirical etc. approach then aethiesm becomes a default position as part of that. Similarly, if the world’s scientific experts have come to the resounding conclusion that our climate is being affected by human activity then the default position is to agree with that unless one decides to spend years becoming an expert in the area and spends time collecting one’s own data (and analysing it) that turns out to refute the overwhelming amount of existing data and to come up with a coherent new analysis.

    Note: one would not aim to collect data to “refute the concept of climate change”… that is not the idea of the whole rational, empirical approach. One doesn’t put ideology first and find the stats to prove it. One might propose a hypothesis with as much willingness to see it disproved, as proved, but starting with an ideological position and cherry picking information to support it is called “religion”.

    So unless you have an upcoming conference presentation at an international climate change convention where you will present an analysis of some new data that creates a coherent story, along with the vast amount of existing data, and changes the position of other researchers in climate science… you are basically being “religious” about climate change. Which makes you statement of being a staunch aetheist, rather a hollow one.

  36. FreeFox says:

    Theo, as much as I want to applaud your whole comment, this needs to be said first:


  37. FreeFox says:

    I am a sceptic, heathen, faggot, alien, and kinkster in a society that deep down believes all of these traits to be satanic and deserving death. I don’t think I can be said to argue from a position of privilege (unless you mean the intellectual privilege of being more educated and mentally unfettered than those around me – which had always been the main failing of “left liberals” in the eyes of narrow-minded bigoted conservatives, innit right, Alastair?) I would still argue that political correctness is rubbish.
    There is a difference between political correctness and politeness, just as there is a difference between being respectful but sceptical of someone’s religious belief and and decapitating apostates. PC is a set of rules designed to enforce through social sanctions a limit on the exchange of ideas in order to spare people discomfort. It is censorship. Politeness is a self-imposed convention to facilitate peaceful existence with one another.

    That said, I also despise people who moan about political correctness. To once again quote Saint Terry: “No practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.” If you want to call a me a fudgepacker and a coffee-coloured person a nigger and a jew a big nosed thief, go ahead. Show us your true colours – but accept that we think you are a dimwitted toerag of the first order and treat you as such.

    It does become problematic when someone like Sam Harris gets booed out by self-styled liberals when he argues (in a calm, rational, evidence-based way) that while all religions are fundamentally wrong, they are not all wrong or dangerous to the same degree, and that today Islam poses a greater danger than other religions (even though I think he is wrong in this), or when he gets booed out by self-styled sceptics when he uses the word Spirituality to describe techniques of reflection to achieve personal happiness, and tries to make a calm, rational, evidence-based argument for such techniques.

    I guess what I mean to say is, PC is rubbish because it is a way for people to rationalise putting fingers in their ears and humming real loud while calling for the decapitation of the perceived apostate. PC-bemoaning is rubbish because if you are an apostate, fucking own up to it be an apostate and accept that most stupid people in the world will hate you for it.

  38. nothingtodowithscientology says:

    Namaste. Long time lurker. I know some atheists/agnostics of varying faiths who keep up the pretense so as not to upset parents/grandparents. (Not my position). Giving up religion and being judged by the society you live in is one thing, but to disrespect ones parents or grandparents is unthinkable for many. I agree that PC is bullshit, it has divided the ‘left and become a stick with which to beat them. But being nominally religious is not always motivated by fear. It gets a bit more complicated when children are baptised or sent to a faith schools etc to appease grandparents. One of the reasons I think faith schools should be done away with. It might also help to prevent some of the ridiculous strawmen being burnt.

  39. nothingtodowithscientology says:

    ..oh yeah. Compliments to the author, discovered J&Mo last year. Absolutely awesome! Thankyou. Brilliant comment section too.

  40. Shaughn says:

    Darwin Harmless,
    If political correctness leads to injustice –
    If political correctness leads to suppression –
    If political correctness leads to discrimination –
    If political correctness leads to denial of reality –
    If political correctness leads to a muted population –
    If political correctness is paying lip service to the powers that be –
    should one howl with the dominant wolves or speak up?

  41. Shaughn says:

    I sincerely hope that Author, the just and mercyful, peace be with him, will not succumb to howling with the dominant wolves. That would end J&M.

  42. Shaughn says:

    I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of others who may remember how we, in the olden days of writing letters, communicated ideas such as sarcasm and irony where the words themselves don’t necessarily convey the meaning. Were we just better writers/readers back then?

    We were, back then. That is if by ‘we’ are meant the literate and educated. We knew how to use and read interpunction; we knew whom we were writing to and his or hers ways of understanding. And we knew who wrote us. In a letter from a friend I can actually hear him talk. I have had anonymous papers of students to review, some of which I could trace down to certain students, ‘hearing’ their voices from the paper.
    “We” used references, such as: he is a very nice and honorable man (but so was Brutus); or understatement – he’s doing what he can but I wouldn’t breed from that manager.

    Irony and sarcasm work among insiders, peers, those who share a culture. Those who do not share that (children for example , as HD observes) won’t get the irony or sarcasm easy out of a text.
    For me it is easier to pick up sarcasm and irony in my mother tongue than in English, I can pick it up in xtianity easier than in buddism.

    Anonymity and cultural difference kill sarcasm and irony. So much for my two rupia.

  43. wnanig says:

    As a member of a generation that was literally referred to as “the ironic generation” (Sweden – and we generally refer to it as irony – sarcasm is defined as more contemptuous), to many of us irony was pretty much the normal mode of communication, i.e. we very rarely uttered anything without a slight percentage of irony (to the point where comedians would make fun of us for not being able to ask someone to pass the orange juice at the breakfast table without being ironic). The unwritten rule was pretty much if you are uncertain if someone is being ironic, you probe them by responding in kind and raising the level of exaggeration (and adding general clues of irony, references, absurdity, whatever you think the recipient might be able to pick up on). If they in turn respond in kind, you can continue to use that mode of communication. If someone really still does not get it when the exaggeration is raised to the level of the absurd, you drop it, since the point, after all, is communication. This is of course easier with more added information, e.g. tone of voice, body language, knowing the background of the recipient etc. Irony is, in a way, a language of its own you need to learn. Or you may go through life offended by the wrong people for the wrong things… at least if you live in a country where it is commonly employed.

    Cultural differences make for fewer common references, but we at least might have an increasing level of a common (second) language in the English language. TV-series and movies also get spread around more to provide common references (although the copyright industry do their best to try to stop that; not necessarily the best course of action from a humanistic – or even security – perspective perhaps). We also have a new platform for communicating in the internet (although, as humanity always does, we of course proceed to also abuse the invention by using it to slowly build ourselves into a 1984 scenario).

    It also seems to me there is a strong subcultural component to irony. I e.g. get the impression that fewer Americans than British pick up on it, but unevenly distributed. Some speak irony fluently :-). The Da Ali G show a lot of the time seemed to work very differently in the US compared to Britain (for members of the ironic generation it was of course mandatory to watch, as was Monty Python, Black Adder, Goodness Gracious Me – and several local equivalents).

    While browsing youtube a year or so ago I started wondering if it would be possible to over time create a global ironic generation (censorship of the internet of course being an obstacle). The thing is – it gets very difficult to take any form of authority figure too seriously when all you can see is John Cleese… It also gets difficult to develop megalomania when all you see in the mirror when you get too pompous is John Cleese (that part is actually quite disturbing…) Because the main impression you get from most world leaders (political, social, economic, religious) is not really that they have a great sense of humour, let alone self-irony, is it? And it mostly looks like they never did learn to share their toys in kindergarten… Author does a very good job, but might need a lot more company. Unfortunately it seems to have to be done anonymously these days if you want to survive… perhaps Anonymous should try to focus on helping comedians with anonymity on the internet. And I really wish the youtubers would do more satire instead of running around dressed up as clowns scaring people… because what we really need is more fear (irony, in case that wasn’t blatently obvious).

  44. Shaugh:
    “If political correctness leads to injustice –
    If political correctness leads to suppression –
    If political correctness leads to discrimination –
    If political correctness leads to denial of reality –
    If political correctness leads to a muted population –
    If political correctness is paying lip service to the powers that be –”

    Can you give me an actual instance where political correctness has really lead to any of these things. I can’t think of any.
    Oh, there was the censoring (attempted at least, I’m not sure it actually was carried out) of the word “nigger” from a reprinting of “Huckleberry Finn” but that was more ignorance and stupidity than true political correctness and it did cause quite the backlash. And I suppose there may have been incidents, equally misguided, around the celebration of Christmas in some schools. And I seem to remember some official getting fired for using, correctly, the word “niggardly”. But claims of political correctness destroying our world and way of life seem only to be coming from bigots and reactionaries.
    Of course, if political correctness leads to any of the things on your list, it must be resisted. I do not see it happening.
    I could be wrong about this of course. If you are a person with some actual grievance against political correctness, I’d like to hear about it.

  45. Shaughn says:

    I think germany and russia in the previous century are both examples. Northern Korea is, this very moment. Should I not mention the khalifate? If in any of there you are not politically correct, i.e. at least pay obvious lipservice to the powers that be – you face gulag, konzentrationslager, educational camps, stoning, beheading.

    Here, the political correct denial of immigrants children dropping out of school has led to a rise of criminality among them.
    Here, the (leftish) political correct denial of the fact that immigrants were here to stay has led to (rightish) revolt.
    Here, the political correct policy to refuse to listen to political incorrect views (as the above among others) alienated the Dutch from their parliament and governement. It alienated the Dutch from their immigrant new Dutchmen to be.
    Here, political correctness has led to intolerance.

    So much for political correctness. Democracy is about the clash of dissenting opinions, and all opinions must be expressed and heard. If political correctness mutes only one, it is detrimental to democracy.

  46. FreeFox says:

    Hey DH. Of course Shaughn here is talking mostly bollocks, doing his Nazi comparison of political correctness. But he has a point about democracy and censorship. You know how weird people get when, say, someone criticises the government of Israel and suddenly everyone moves away not wanting to catch the accusation of being a nutty right wing anti-Semite. Or that whole islamophobia debate. Like for example Sam Harris saying Islam is more dangerous than Jainism and next people claim he called for a nuclear first strike on Iran. (Or the other way around, when he talks about meditation and suddenly scores of weathered atheists faint in the first aisle. – I am enjoying his book “Waking Up” just these days.)

    The attempt to control social interaction through a priori ostracism of certain ideas regardless of context – and that is what PC is – polarises issues, because violating the consensus even slightly automatically pushes the violator to a fringe position and into a strong defensive (and thus often aggressive) position.

  47. FreeFox says:

    But I still think, so what, claim the fringe. I do not mind Jewish people, but the current government of Israel IS an abomination. Most of my friends are Muslims, but Islam IS making people sick and those who are good people are so despite being Muslims, not because of it, and being a Muslim does push people towards violence and hatred. Supernatural claims are utter rubbish and quantum mysticism is bollocks, but Buddhist meditation if stripped of superstitious nonsense does improve mental health. There are differences between the genders, between “races” (I’m putting the term into quotation marks because biologically of course humans form one race of hominids, but I don’t know another English term that describes genetically phenotypicly different human subgroups, and the term “ethnicities” seems to be more about cultural than biological differences), and between cultures. People are not all the same, they are not created equal, they don’t contribute equally, they are not equally lovable, likeable or worth the same. They should however have the same fundamental rights. I or you don’t have to treat them equally, but governments and the law should. There’s nothing Supernatural about the world but the words God, gods, the soul, spirit, afterlife, salvation, sin and even ghost all do describe real phenomena.

    Can I kick any more holy cows?

    I’m reading a lot of Burroughs these days, and to all those scared of political correctness I can only say, if he could be an iconoclastic, openly gay, pedophile, wife-murdering, pornography writing, junkie beatnik punk in a three piece suite, well, suck it up and fight for your opinions in the face of political correctness. Just grow some balls. ^_^

  48. FreeFox says:

    And Shaughn? I’ve been to the caliphate. That’s not political correctness. You don’t get shamed on the telly and have to clear your desk because you said the wrong thing about the prophet or violated some sexual taboo. You get decapitated, crucified, stoned, shot, gutted, burned alive, or thrown from a tower. Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the North Korean secret police aren’t forms of political correctness. Stop talking out your arse. You’re embarrassing yourself.

  49. Shaughn says:

    Thank you, FreeFox, for corroborating my point.
    Apparently, in that caliphate one has to behave politically correct in order not to be decapitated, crucified, stoned, shot, gutted, burned alive, or thrown from a tower, as you sum up. That, and gulag, and concentrations camps are not political correct but the eventual punishments on being not politically correct. And long before that, on the road there is peer pressure, there is party pressure, there is exclusion of others, sooner or later censorship, book burning etcetera.
    Just for ‘not howling with the dominant wolves’, using the ‘wrong’ words, expressing the ‘wrong’ ideas. That’s all about enforcing political correctness.

    Political correctness is not about censorship but about the ideas behind that: that others may decide for you what you are allowed to say or express.

    Your example of criticizing the israeli goverment – that is how peer pressure toward political correctness works: isolate the culprit that says what you don’t want to hear.

    Your remarks on human races – that is what political correctness forces you to. Why not just say: mankind, the human kind knows different races , just like dogkind knows different races. All defined by marked by exterior diferences but for the interior there is just one kind.
    But ‘race’ is forbidden because of some idiot racial theories out of the past? And you comply to that political correctness by excusing for the use of that word. That is what political correctness is about also: form, as opposed to content. It’s a fertilizer for hypocrisy.

  50. FreeFox says:

    Shaughn: There’s the difference between politeness (and accuracy) and political correctness – I am aware that the term race as applied to human groups, while signifying some kind of genetic and thus phenotypic difference does not mean what biologist usually use it for. To quote Wikipedia: “There is a wide consensus that the racial categories that are common in everyday usage are socially constructed, and that racial groups cannot be biologically defined. Nonetheless, some scholars argue that racial categories obviously correlate with biological traits (e.g. phenotype) to some degree, and that certain genetic markers have varying frequencies among human populations, some of which correspond more or less to traditional racial groupings. For this reason, there is no current consensus about whether racial categories can be considered to have significance for understanding human genetic variation.”
    I do not have to sacrifice accuracy nor my awareness that sweeping statements can be unnecessarily harmful just to bow to your pressure to seem to avoid peer pressure.

    As to your continued ridiculous Nazi comparison, you keep confusing both cause of mass murder and inevitable consequences of political correctness. PC may be an overreaction to tyranny to an extent that it creates its own petty counter tyranny, but in reality it is almost invariably the fascist, stalinist or theocratic tyrants who start with a decrying of bourgeois values (of which PC is an extreme) that lead societies into the concentration camps and gulags.

    I’m afraid you’re projecting your own insecure hatreds here, old chap.

  51. white+squirrel says:

    using the Nazi comparison is a form of intellectual laziness

  52. FreeFox says:

    Btw, watch this about the claim that PC is a left liberal phenomenon.

  53. FreeFox says:

    Hm, seem to have fucked up the link. This should be it:

  54. Shaughn, you have defined political correctness so widely as to make the term meaningless. In all the instances you cite, dissenting voices were heard. If they weren’t listened to it was because of a clash of agendas or opinions, not because anybody was silenced.
    It’s a useful term. It’s not politically correct to abuse it the way you are doing. 🙂

    Freefox, great to hear your voice on these threads again. Ah, Burroughs. I read quite a bit of him before I decided it was like swimming in a sewer with your mouth open. But I do have to admire his cojones. And his flair for self promotion. Indelible images in scenes which, once read, cannot be unread.

  55. Shaughn says:

    FreeFox, in explaining why, you comply to the requirements of political correctness. Which is the whole point I’m making at that. Where do I claim political correctness for left? You yourself named a right wing case that I do not deny.

    white+squirrel, I never mentioned the nazi regime. That is Freefoxes merit. If you recall European history, you will find german public opinion in 1914 just as compelling as any ‘political correctness’ avant la lettre. The same may be found for french and britih public opinion.

    For today – I found in my newspaper a remark from a russian on goverment propaganda in Russia. Either you are a patriot, or a traitor. The former is politically correct, the latter is not.

    Darwin Harmless,
    You asked me actual instances.
    I think I gave you from both world history (the totalitarian and imperial states in continantal Europe) You will find Orwellian ‘newspeak’ as their political correct speak in all of them. All of them ended up isolating, muting and eventually killing dissenters.
    I gave you instances from the netherlands – since a man named Fortuyn gave a voice to the neglected politically incorrect (and got murdered for that!) this country has known political instabilty as never before since 1830.
    Certainly there were dissenting voices in all these cases, speaking up as they should do in my and your opinion. But to little or no avail.

    In all the mentioned cases political correctness is defined as ‘howling with the dominant wolves’: what the powers that be want to hear and not hear. Such as the negro-word, or the race-word. But those are omly symptoms of political correctness. I don’t see in what respect I’ve widened the definition, if there was an outspoken definition before.

    That’s not different from your use of the term. But behind that definition is a political mechanism that is utterly undemocratic. As the given instances show. And that is the actual, my actual, grievance against political correctness, you’d like to hear about.

  56. Shaughn says:

    Wnanig, re Monty Python, Black Adder:

    Blackadder: “Baldrick, does the word irony have any meaning to you?”
    Baldrick: “Oh yeah, it’s like goldy and bronzy but then it’s made of iron.”

    (quoted from memory… )

  57. Shaughn says:

    By the way, FreeFox, can you quote my nazi comparisons and their continuation?

    I cannot find them.

  58. FreeFox says:

    You keep referring to Konzentrationslager / concentration camps as examples of political correctness. And please don’t take the cowardly know-it-all route of claiming the British had concentration camps, too. You were talking about Nazi Germany, just as your mention of gulags referred to Soviet Russia.

    You really have a skewed view of what the term political correctness means. Again, to quote Wikipedia: “Political correctness or political correctitude (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is an attitude or policy of being careful not to offend or upset any group of people in society who are believed to have a disadvantage.”
    It neither means having to be unnecessarily crude or inaccurate, nor killing people for their ethnicity, perceived lack of worth, or different religious affiliation. Nor are genocide or secret police disappearances in any way the logical consequence. In none of your quoted examples was the desire not to upset a disadvantaged group even remotely the motive.

    Really, you’re talking out of your arse, mate.

  59. FreeFox says:

    DH, you talk about swimming through a sewer with your mouth open, as if it was a bad thing… ^_^

  60. FreeFox says:

    The left thing wasn’t by you, Shaughn, but by Alastair. “When all PC means is being polite I am all for it. Unfortunately too often today it means the ‘no platform’ suppression of anyone who dares to express a view not congruent with the left liberal consensus.”

  61. Shaughn says:

    FreeFox, I mentioned those camps not, I repeat: not, as examples of political correctness. Nor did I mention gulag, or educational camps or beheadings as examples of political correctness. I was not talking about them but referring to a whole bunch of that kind of institutions among which I will not ‘pc’ pretend they should not be mentioned. I referred to the as the final consequences of political correctness, which is obviously not the same. A condition or a cause is not its own consequence.

    You define political correctness as: the attempt to control social interaction through a priori ostracism of certain ideas regardless of context – and that is what PC is (today, 10:02). I gladly accept that as a more sophisticated formulated definition than my ‘obligatory howling with the wolves’ description. So much for my ‘really skewed view of what the term political correctness means’. It’s your own view. We differ on the consequences.

    Now, if that attempt (the one in your definition) is not checked or matched or otherwise should be succesful, the inevitable result will be a society that discards dissenters eventually by the worst ways ever. See the examples given.

    Is that my idea? No.
    If you have read Alexis De Tocquevilles Democracy in America” you will know that he predicted the very same. In his analysis of democracy, good old Alexis remarks that, in order to function, it is mandatory to facilitate and stimulate and to educate citizens to form as much and many opinions as possible on all levels of society and in a multitude of organizations and platforms.
    If that is neglected, a society will end up with only a few opinion leaders, dictating what anyones opinion is and how it is to be expressed. What De Tocqueville feared is the tyranny of the majority. That majority will all too easily be guided by public opinion (regardless of by whom or what for that is ventilated). The pressure of public opinion may well be so great that for independent thinking is no place and dissent is no longer heard.There you have your control [of] social interaction through a priori ostracism of certain ideas regardless of context, intentionally or not does not matter. He wrote that in 1825 and history has proven him right time and again up until now.
    You will notice also that this process, again according to De Tocqueville, has nothing to do with malevolent or (probably worse) benevolent desires or goals.
    The next one who warned explicitly for the same mistake was Karl Popper in his work on the Open society. Only a society that explicitly favours, stimulates and invites the kind of opinions and multitudes of dissenting opinions and debate can falsify and change bad government. Lacking that mechanism, bad decisions and wrong policy will continue until they have fatal results.
    So, political correctness will inevitably result in dictatorship, totaliarianism including all its mayhem, and we all know the usual consequences of that. And De Tocqueville and Popper being well known, we cannot pretend not to know, given the empirical evidence of their theories in recent history.

    If that’s talking out of arses, theirs are at least acknowledged authorative arses.

  62. Shaughn says:

    For 1825, please read 1835-1840. My bad.

  63. Mark S. says:

    To simplify it a bit, political correctness is when you say “I’m going to hire a couple of day laborers to fix up my garden” instead of “I’m going to get a couple of wetbacks to do it”. It’s saying “I’m going to kludge this broken lawnmower” instead of “I’m going to nigger-rig it”.

    (Both examples from real life.)

    Being politically incorrect may attract disapproval, but it certainly doesn’t mean the government is going to disappear you and bury you in an unmarked grave.

  64. FreeFox says:

    Shaughn: Yes, pretty much. While fascism and stalinism were indeed carried by a tyranny of the majority, albeit a lied to, manipulated and ultimately betrayed majority, the whole point of political correctness is a tyranny of the *minority*. Maybe you should better read Ray Bradbury instead? I think Fahrenheit 451 is a better fit.
    Also while Popper does warn of inhibited discourse leading to bad policy it’s absurd to say it inevitably leads to totalitarianism. Bad policy are fracking, an out of control racist police force, out of control banks owning politicians, crazy health care, sex ed, and “science” education, and disastrous ecological policies. Only the out of control “intelligence” agencies are actually moving towards totalitarianism. And the only “political correctness” involved there is the patriotic *majority* lead to see bearded Muslim terrorists everywhere shouting down any calmer voices with exactly the kind of attack on “political correctness” you’re spearheading here.

    So, yep.

  65. nothingtodowithscientology says:

    Hi everybody, Mark S: love those phrases they’re new ones on me.
    Darwin H: I think I mostly agree with you re: PC complainers often just wanting to offend. I find it a bit sinister though. More of a threat to comedy than democracy. I don’t think something as brilliant and harmless as Porridge would get made now. While not wanting to use words like negroe or poofter to offend or exclude/intimidate what often gets lost is the actual meaning of a joke in that it can have a different target compared to it’s subject.

  66. nothingtodowithscientology says:

    Woops pressed submit accidently, am a bit of a luddite. Was just going to say it does (PC) give humourless people to set an agenda in order to protect people who may not want/need it and leaving people who may not be up to date on which word to use feeling alienated. It can also imply someone is a victim or needs pity when they don’t want that. Taking laughter away from people can really offend to and lead to resentment. I was seriously pissed off over the Southpark Mohammed episode.
    Everybody:Sorry to barge in like this and lower the tone. Just got booted off cif.

  67. plainsuch says:

    quote Wikipedia: “Political correctness or political correctitude (adjectivally, politically correct; both forms commonly abbreviated to PC) is an attitude or policy of being careful not to offend or upset any group of people in society who are believed to have a disadvantage.”

    Empahsis mine. Could an attempt to avoid offending disadvantaged minoritites lead to dictatorship?

    Wikipedia: Totalitarianism is a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible.

    No…Total control doesn’t have much to do with politeness or multiculturalism.

    Wikipedia: Eric Hoffer, in his book The True Believer, argues that mass movements like communism, fascism, and Nazism had a common trait in picturing Western democracies and their values as decadent, with people “too soft, too pleasure-loving and too selfish” to sacrifice for a higher cause, which for them implies an inner moral and biological decay. He further claims that those movements offered the prospect of a glorious future to frustrated people, enabling them to find a refuge from the lack of personal accomplishments in their individual existence. The individual is then assimilated into a compact collective body and “fact-proof screens from reality” are established.

    No…Finding refuge in cookie-cutter conformity would mean more contempt for nonconforming outsiders rather than less.

    Wikipedia: reformulating it as a paradigm for the Soviet Union as well as fascist regimes. Carl Friedrich and Zbigniew Brzezinski argue that a totalitarian system has the following six, mutually supportive, defining characteristics:

    Elaborate guiding ideology.
    Single mass party, typically led by a dictator.
    System of terror, using such instruments as violence and secret police.
    Monopoly on weapons.
    Monopoly on the means of communication.
    Central direction and control of the economy through state planning.

    German historian Karl Dietrich Bracher, maintains that the essence of totalitarianism is the total claim to control and remake all aspects of society combined with an all-embracing ideology, the value on authoritarian leadership, and the pretence of the common identity of state and society, which distinguished the totalitarian “closed” understanding of politics from the “open” democratic understanding.

    Again with the total control and hostility towards non-conformers. Political correctness and multiculturalism try to be accepting of non-conformers or, at the least, civil to them.

    Actually I think the analysis of these forms og government is all very interesting but the bottom line is: wealth brings wealth and power begets power. These are positive feedbacks and any system allowed to be dominated by positive feedbacks willl either oscillate out of control or veer to some extreme new state. When you have concentrated all the power, whoever is holding it will use it to keep it.

    Wikipedia: In the 1930s, Stalin apparently became increasingly worried about the growing popularity of the Leningrad party boss Sergei Kirov. … After the assassination of Kirov, which may have been orchestrated by Stalin, Stalin invented a detailed scheme to implicate opposition leaders in the murder,…The investigations and trials expanded. Stalin passed a new law on “terrorist organizations and terrorist acts” that were to be investigated for no more than ten days, with no prosecution, defense attorneys or appeals, followed by a sentence to be executed “quickly.”

    Thereafter, several trials known as the Moscow Trials were held, but the procedures were replicated throughout the country. Article 58 of the legal code, which listed prohibited anti-Soviet activities as counterrevolutionary crime, was applied in the broadest manner. The flimsiest pretexts were often enough to brand someone an “enemy of the people”, starting the cycle of public persecution and abuse, often proceeding to interrogation, torture and deportation, if not death.

    …The scale of Stalin’s purge of Red Army officers was exceptional—90% of all generals and 80% of all colonels were killed.

  68. Mary2 says:

    Thanks guys for your thoughtful comments as ever. Good points, FreeFox about the dangers of excessive Political Correctness. I think a lot of this discussion is really about definition – and maybe a slippery slope. When does care over hurtful language become the thought police? I don’t think the two are the same thing. The most offensive things I have heard are usually couched in language which could not be faulted for its friendly overtones whereas terms like ‘fudgepacker’ (awesome word FF, haven’t heard that for ever!) can be used between friends .

    Thanks for your thoughts on sarcasm and irony. You are both probably correct that it is more difficult to convey over an anonamous medium like the internet and that it does not always travel between cultures. I heard an interesting point about sarcasm and politicians: in Aust, we had a Prime Minister in the 70s who was famously arrogant – in fact, although his name was Gough, he was often known as God and achieved mythic status – if one actually listens to his quips of the time, it seems he was not so kuch arrogant as ‘taking the piss’ out of himself but, as a pollie, everything he said was taken at face value.

  69. Shaughn says:

    FreeFox, Plainsuch and all ye others,

    Although wikipedia has its merits, it is seldom conclusive. Scientific literature on political correctness tends to working definitions in line with Freefoxes and mine definition, rather than just the ‘political correctness is being polite’ interpretation.

    Freefox, re your remark it’s absurd to say it inevitably leads to totalitarianism – why are you denying historical facts? It did before (see the soviet workers paradise and its nazi counterpart), it does this very moment (ask northern korea). If and when the process goes unopposed, uncontrolled, unchecked, (that being the necessary condition) disaster will be the result. That’s not absurd, it’s stating the obvious.
    The process being opposed and more or less controlled in our civilised parts of the world does not alter the underlying process. If opposition and control fail, then…
    Compare with a nuclear chain reaction: if uncontrolled, there will be nuclear disaster. See Chernobyl, Fukushima etc.. If and as long as under control and regulated, there is no problem. But that does not take away the underlying process.

    Anyway, there is possibly a point of view we can all agree to. There is an article in ‘Medical Hypothesis” (January 2012), ‘Perverse political correctness and personality traits”.
    The authors make a distinction between political correctness as “a mutual respect for the views and beliefs of others, including enemies, and while differing in opinions, the willfulness to overcome the existing disagreements, and to prevent animosity” on one hand, on the other hand political correctness as “ aimed for disintegration of solidarity in a society”, dubbing the latter perverted political correctness. (This aiming at disintegration is not necessarily conscious or deliberate! The way to hell is paved with good intentions.)

    It is a distinction I can agree on, and I suppose it’s clear that my arrows are aimed at the perverted political correctness. That is, by the way, the political correctness as the expression originated on the Leninist left to denote party line diehards working at the communist world revolution. Talking about ‘aiming for disintegration’…

    My source (Political Correctness: A History of Semantics and Culture by Geoffrey Hughes) for that origin remarks further that political correctness evolved into P.C., an ironic phrase among wised up leftists to denote someone whose political correctness was unbearable; then it was picked up by others ‘who had no fidelity to radicalism at all, but who relished the nasty syllables for their twist of irony’.

  70. FreeFox says:

    Shaughn, I still agree with you that PC is more (and more destructive) than mere politeness. I don’t know enough about Lenin or Trotzki to judge the development of Stalinismus, though I seriously doubt your simplification. However the rise of German fascism had nothing to do with any kind of political correctness encroaching on democratic liberties. That’s a patently absurd and ridiculous claim and only undermines whatever argument you’re trying to make. As is your attempt to pull Popper onto your side. Argument by authority is always dubious, but you at least need that authority to be in your side. Popper may well be against PC (I don’t know, it does seem to go against his idea of a free exchange of ideas), but he would certainly never subscribe to your bizarre one-dimensional continuum from brutal honesty straight to totalitarianism.

    Be that as it may, I also still think your winging is pretty revealing. You want to speak your mind regardless of other people’s feelings but you quiver if the stern second grade teacher of social pressure gives you a withering look, and run crying “she can’t do that!”

    PC is a form of cowardice. It is bowing to the fear of being confronted with the fact that people out there don’t like you. That they think your gender is weak, your race is worthless, your religion delusional or worse despicable – and that you have to listen to them telling you so. Almost all followers of PC are secretly convinced that the prejudices about their social group are true, and don’t want to deal with that. Worst are the guardians of PC, who deep down know what racist, sexist chauvinist they really are, but who are just intellectually aware enough to know that their own prejudices are wrong, and who project their loathing against minorities and themselves against other perceived perpetrators.

    But really, there is only one way to fight this form of cowardice. By not being a coward. If they try to ban your speech, you don’t call for a ban of their ban, but you simply break it. Take a fucking stand. Speak your mind and when they give you a withering look, just smile back at them. And if they come with baseball bats, get a chain and a knife. Don’t back down.

    Thats the one freedom nobody can take from you, freedom to accept the consequences.

  71. Shaughn says:

    However the rise of German fascism had nothing to do with any kind of political correctness encroaching on democratic liberties.
    Excuse me? You have never noticed nazi propaganda ‘newspeak’ from the 1930’s and later? There was a particular way to speak of jews, of enemies (especially the bolshevik) – a political correct way to speak about them. Just similar to the political correct way in communism where one could not just say ‘american’ but politically correct ‘imperialist capitalist american’. All nazi rhetoric, just as communist rhetoric is example of their (perverted!) political correct idiom and vocabulary. Eventually, that ppc was not encroaching anymore but enforced through the ‘gleichschaltung’ of the nazi-media.

    Popper may well be against PC (I don’t know, it does seem to go against his idea of a free exchange of ideas), but he would certainly never subscribe to your bizarre one-dimensional continuum from brutal honesty straight to totalitarianism.
    You may well assume that Popper would have been against perverted political correctness, as that is very much against his idea of free exchange of ideas. And he certainly warned against that continuum: his The Open Society and Its Enemies is for a great part an attack on totalitarianism. And yes, I base my analysis on De Tocqueville, Popper and others’ thinking. They pulled me to their side rather than the other way round. I do agree that references to sources is a form of the authority argument. But the authority argument is only false if the authority is not an authority on the subject at hand. But these two are.

    You want to speak your mind regardless of other people’s feelings Really? I think that, at least, I haven’t made personal attacks here or elsewhere, nor have I been impolite to the best of my knowledge and intentions. Pretty P.C., I think. But then, I think politeness should be called that, and not ‘politically correct’. I consider (pulling Machiavelli to my side) politics a-moral, whereas politeness is in my opinion moral.

    But I do indeed prefer someone speaking up not P.C. if he deems such necessary rather than having his hypocrisy: howling P.C. whilst acting contrariwise but to his true feelings. Invoking hypocrisy is one of those slippery slope points where P.C. slowly slips towards perverted political correctness. That’s why I don’t mind your personal attacks although they’re not my style and I might rise an eyebrow on it. Is that quivering and crying ‘he cannot do that’? I don’t think the accusations, if they’re meant to be, are deserved.

  72. micky says:

    Last orders please, haven’t you lot got homes to go to?

  73. Shaughn says:

    Why? I’m feeling perfectlly at home here, Micky. Besides, that’s Barmaid’s clue, not yours 😛

    Perhaps Freefox can summarize the points of agreement and disagreement? Then I”ll agree to disagree on the former. Then this page can give way to Author (peace be upon him) and a new politically incorrect (to some) blaspheme. 😀

  74. Shaughn says:

    I meant to agree to disagree on the latter, of course.

  75. Thinness says:

    Political correctness is a doctrine dedicated to the proposition that one may pick up a dog turd by the clean end.

  76. FreeFox says:

    Shaughn, I guess I can sum it up with this question: Why are we talking about political correctness, instead of directly about whatever issue is on your heart?

  77. Shaughn and Freefox, thank you both for this discussion. It’s been a delight and I think I may even have learned something. Ironic that it began with my defence of political correctness and radical feminism, caused by the following statement by Smee:: “(…the roots of our problems today) namely Political correctness and Radical feminism!
    I think we actually all agree that political correctness is not a bad thing but that perverted PC is a blight. It’s been fun unpacking the issue.

    Cheers. I think I’ll have another warm beer.

  78. Shaughn says:

    Because, FreeFox, of my observation of February 26 of the Dutch ‘political correctness’ that differed from Darwin Harmless’s equation.
    He and I then asked each other a few questions about political correctness, we answered each other and meanwhile you began participating and we continued. As civil politeness requires.

    On my heart is supposedly an aorta. I have no reason to doubt the anatomy textbooks, do you? Then why change the subject?

    Thinness: LOL

  79. Shaughn says:

    Ah, Darwin Harmless, thank you for your kind words. My apologies to all if I might have been pedantic every now and then but pedantry is a professional disease of mine.

    I’ll have another warm beer too with you – cheers!

  80. FreeFox says:

    I’m a philistine. I like mine cold, please. Cheers.

  81. Mary2 says:

    You folks may have caused me to reconsider some of my beliefs about political correctness but warm beer? Never. The colder the better.

  82. Deebles says:

    By the way, has anyone else here been following the events in Bangladesh, around and subsequent to the murder of Avijit Roy? http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2015/mar/04/invincible-avijit-roy

  83. hotrats says:

    Seeing that FreeFox brought it up, I’ve often wanted to share the following gem from ‘Words of Advice for Young People’:

    If you’re doing business with a religious son of a bitch, get it in writing; his word isn’t worth shit, not with the good Lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.
    William Burroughs ‘Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales’ 1993

  84. plainsuch says:

    Last orders please, haven’t you lot got homes to go to?

    Why the rush? Closing time isn’t until early Wednesday morning and I’m still waiting for Shaughn to wrap up conflating egalitarian-inclusive politically correct speech with imposed-by-authority Procrustean politically correct conformity of speech.

    This completely on topic, the topic being misunderstanding other peoples position.

  85. Shaughn says:

    still waiting for Shaughn
    Oh, sorry mate. There you go: down the hatch!

  86. Bill says:

    Religion supposes, science exposes.


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