Charlie Hebdo made an appearance in J&M eight years ago. Time to resurrect an old joke.

The editor was acquitted.

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Discussion (67)¬

  1. Shaughn says:

    I am the first in the race to announce how deeply amused I am.

  2. ianW says:

    Hahahahaha, so true, i live in Saudi and it was 2 seconds until someone called me to tell me how offended my evil western brothers had made him. I laughed, called him a big baby and hung up.

  3. eddy says:

    They also seem to be deeply offended at how not everyone is offended.

  4. jean-françois+gauthier says:

    funny how homophobic wingnuts will claim homosexuality is a choice and will, consequently, claim the right to question and discriminate against it. religion, after all, is a choice.

  5. WalterWalcarpit says:

    Hilarious. Brilliant.
    Closely followed by the race to declare Islam is a religion of peace.
    And that no true Scotsman, oh, wait …

  6. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    The question is; will there be a race to clean up Mo’s spilt Guiness?

  7. IanB says:

    The race to whine.

  8. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    The anti-human race?

  9. Ron Murphy says:

    Dear Mo,

    I’m white British. Is it OK for me to offend white British Muslims, or is that still racism?

    Confused (about everything Islamic), Manchester

  10. FreeFox says:

    Hey Walter. Just wanted to quickly tell you, I haven’t forgotten your question about how I came to draw a connection between Piketty Capitalism and the role of islamism in world politics, just haven’t gotten around to answering it properly. ^_^

  11. But seriously, why is it that the things that really offend me do not seem to be so offensive to religious people. I couldn’t give a flying frog what somebody says about imaginary beings, but the recent massacre in Nigeria leaves me without words, as does the pope’s most recent statements about Charlie Hebdo. I guess I’ll leave the words to somebody who can say them better than I can.
    For those who haven’t seen it yet. Cheers mates, and thanks again Author for providing us with this cozy pub.

  12. liz says:

    If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black, I don’t know what is. The entire civilized world should counter-sue them for being the original “inciters of racial hatred” by declaring Jews to be “apes and pigs”.

  13. two cents' worth says:

    Perhaps one reason why they race to be the first to say they’re deeply offended is because they’re terribly insecure. See http://www.gocomics.com/tim-eagan/2015/01/15

  14. oldebabe says:

    So funny, author, and probably so true. Maybe they need something to `talk’ about or give substance to their thoughts… dunno. I’m from a generation, or perhaps it’s just my personality, that didn’t give a s- about what other people were saying – even when mean, insulting, etc. – certainly not noticing just a lame wording or pic as an `offense’. Poor babies, indeed.

  15. Michael says:

    Thanks again, Author, for being timely and funny simultaneously.

  16. botanist says:

    I’m raising a glass to you Acolyte of Sagan, I hope you have a good day.
    Thanks Author. I love J&M Wednesday.

  17. Nassar+Ben+Houdja says:

    To court, the profits followers go
    With arguments that suck and blow
    They should be countersued instead
    And get a boot to the head
    For Islam’s rude behavior, dontcha know.

  18. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Botanist, how nice of you to remember. Thank you 🙂

    Nassar, excellent work of late, my friend. Not sure I agree with the boot to the head unless it’s a metaphorical boot of course.

    FreeFox & Walter, I’m currently reading Noam Chomsky’s How the World Works. There’s a concise but informative section on that subject. Corporate America plays a non-too subtle role.

  19. Canneloni says:

    Thanks for that link, Darwin. A wonderful diatribe! I will probably listen to it several times over the next few days!

  20. perna de pau says:

    The only sensible thing to say to all those (including the Pope) who feel offended by drawings, ideas, expressions or words is: “stop being stupid”.

  21. plainsuch says:

    a connection between Piketty Capitalism and the role of islamism in world politics

    Consider these pampered sons of privilege, both their Families are in the business of power. They both are thinking they have out smarted the other to get what they want. The religious myths and political slogans they motivate their minions with may or may not differ. This game they are competing in uses the real lives of several billion real people as expendable game pieces and abstractions like money and power to keep score. Corporations like to do business with right-wing authoritarians that will hand over the resources and oppress their own people. Corrupt thugs like to do business with large corporations because psychopaths understand how to scratch each others backs, and a corrupt thug with connections just might end up as dictator-for-life.


  22. two cents' worth says:

    HackneyMartian, I left a comment for you under the previous cartoon.

  23. extro24 says:

    For some real offence, how about the Islamic way to beat your wife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChnpaMK1oLQ

  24. FreeFox says:

    Hey AoS. ^_^ Has your current reading anything to do with the new insight you were going to elaborate later?

  25. FreeFox says:

    Offensive behaviour is a really tricky subject. In Germany, where I spent too much of my childhood, it is illegal to deny the holocaust. I can see a historical reason for this, but it still is basically locking people up for saying something considered offensive by others. Here in the Cock & Bull comments of a racist, sexist, or homophobic nature will not be tolerated – because we consider them offensive. There are of course different levels of reaction, from shooting people and throwing bombs to legal sanctions ranging from death penalty to fines, to public shaming or ridicule to simply some people not liking the offender anymore. And the right to free speech is given different space, from prohibiting exposure of state secrets, child pornography, perjury, hate speech, stalking, slander, lewdness, propaganda, specific symbols, religious or political opinions, etc.
    Do any of you know any place anywhere where EVERYTHING is permitted? Obvious there is a line between permissible and non permissible offensiveness. Those rules and the acceptable sanctions are not part of any natural or divine law, but simply something we must somehow agree on and deal with.
    While the threshold of, well, shall we call it mediterranean offendedness is pretty obviously ridiculously low, to claim any of us is in favour of completely free speech is kinda ridiculous, too, don’t you think?

  26. Robert+Andrews says:

    Citizen warrior. Check out this website. It’s a great call to action.


  27. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, as it happens the insight came directly from your post to me regarding the ‘dictator in their heads’. It was sheer coincidence – or was it? – that I spotted the Chomsky book in a charity shop* a couple of days later.

    I still intend to elaborate on that post but it will have to wait until I get a new laptop. The old one finally died last week, luckily after I’d decided it was time to save all my files, photo’s, etc, to discs, and so I’m using the 7″ tablet my kids got me for Christmas.

    A small and overly sensitive touch screen – so sensitive it makes Islamic fundamentalists seem tolerant by comparison – and fingers like fat sausages do not make for long and insightful posts.
    Especially when I can never find the stylus pen thingy. 🙁

    * always fruitful hunting grounds for books.

  28. djpdummy says:

    Robert+Andrews, Andrews+Robert
    Spread it wide it is very thin.

  29. botanist says:

    AoS – my stylus pen thingy plugs into the headphone socket.
    It was free with an old phone, but they are quite cheap on Amazon.

  30. PK says:

    Thought I might seek advice on one point from this forum.

    In his “The God Delusion”, Prof. Richard Dawkins presents a quotation from author Robert M. Pirsig: “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.” I think this is well said, but am unable to find this in Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, neither from his “Lila”. In the latter novel, the issue is being touched, but not quite so.

    Therefore, if anybody happens to be in the know, I would appreciate an accurate reference. Where exactly has Mr. Pirsig written the above, or has he indeed?

  31. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Botanist, so far I’ve lost four of the damned things: my dog (breed uncertain but 100% terriorist) and my grandsons (breed certain, pure terrors) are joint chief suspects in their disappearance.

    PK, without digging out my copy of what I once called ‘the most self-indulgent piece of crap’ (or similar: I certainly didn’t give it a great review), I think that your quote is from Zen…, in one of the passages talking about Phaedrus.

  32. oake says:

    It’s not from Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. It’s an observation in Lila, which can be downloaded in .pdf form from http://iamronen.com/2010/05/reading-lila-pdf/

    Page 43 covers Persig’s observations on religion in the context of insanity, but you won’t find the exact quote, because Dawkins paraphrases it. It’s essentially the same thing, though.

  33. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Oake, thank you for that, I was having palpitations at the thought of reading through that self-pitying load of ‘me me me me’ again in search of that quote.
    As you might have guessed already, I won’t be opening your link. Well, not deliberately, anyway, but this bloody tablet has a mind of it’s own: swipe to scroll and sometimes it scrolls, sometimes it enlarges or reduces, sometimes it opens links, oftentimes it does nothing at all.
    Bloody good job I like surprises 😉

  34. Plainsuch says:

    Depending on your make and model, and you probably need an adapter called a OTG, you can plug mice and keyboard into tablets. Both at once if you have an USB expander.

  35. oake says:

    Sorry – I’d forgotten that downloading stuff isn’t always convenient. Here’s the page in full, in case you wanted to compare it with the Dawkins take:

    “What’s wrong with insanity is that she’s outside any culture … a culture of one. That’s what had to be reconciled … At a hospital they’d just start shooting her full of drugs and tell her to adjust … they wouldn’t see … that she is adjusting …… is the adjustment … [it] isn’t necessarily a step in the wrong direction, it can be an intermediate step in the right direction …’
    the problem of ‘curing an insane person is like the problem of ‘curing a Moslem … or ‘curing a communist … or ‘curing a republican … You’re not going to make progress by telling them how wrong they are … The important thing was to support her delusions and then slowly wean her away from them rather than fight them.
    The catch here, that almost any philosopher would spot, is the word ‘delusion . It’s always the other person who’s deluded … Delusions can be held by whole groups … as long as we’re not a part of that group. If we’re a member … [they] become a ‘minority-opinion … A person isn’t considered insane if there are a number of people who believe the same way … then it s a religion.’
    … It sounds quite blasphemous to put religion and insanity on an equal footing for comparison, but his point was … to illuminate insanity … The current subject-object point of view of religion, conventionally muted so as not to stir up the
    fanatics, is that religious mysticism and insanity are the same. Religious mysticism is one of those delusions that isn’t called insane only because there are so many people involved ……
    The Metaphysics of Quality … says the subject-object people are almost right when they identify religious-mysticism with insanity … Both lunatics and mystics have freed themselves from the conventional static intellectual patterns of their culture.
    The only difference is that the lunatic has shifted over to a private static pattern of his own, whereas the mystic has abandoned all static patterns in favor of pure Dynamic Quality …”

  36. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Plain such, thanks for that. I’ve been looking at keyboards but think I’ll wait for a laptop. No point in spending money on this when it’s going to be demoted to occasional use in a month or so.

    Oake, it wasn’t the download itself I objected to, it was having to read more Persig!
    That said, the passage you quoted is reminiscent of his description of his ‘descent into madness’ in Zen….
    Was he a one-trick pony?

  37. oake says:

    Acolyte, I was actually prevailed upon to read Zen and the Art etc. when it first came out, everyone telling me what a wonderful piece of literature it was, and, although I struggled right through to the end, I was unable to share their enthusiasm. Chautaqua indeed. Relieved to see that others share my view – I thought I was alone!

    As for Lila, I was curious enough to google it and search for ‘religion’, because I didn’t remember the Dawkins quote from Z&tAoMM – I haven’t actually read Lila, and I’m not planning to!

  38. PK says:

    Confusing, Oake. You say, ’you won’t find the exact quote’ while you ’haven’t actually read Lila’. Sorry, but this isn’t convincing.

    I have read both ’Zen’ and ’Lila’, and failed to locate the said Dawkins’s ’quote’. In ’Lila’, chapter 30, Bantam 1992 edition, p. 424–431, the issue is being touched, but not quite so.

    In fact, have approached Prof. Dawkins himself on this, but never got any answer.

    You may find the said ’quote’ all around the web. Seems to me, no source criticism has been applied there.

  39. oake says:

    PK, as I said, Dawkins seems to have paraphrased part of the passage I quoted above.
    I haven’t read Lila, but googled for a .pdf download (here’s the link again if you’re interested: http://iamronen.com/2010/05/reading-lila-pdf/), and used a search tool to find relevant passages.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘unconvincing’ – I’m not trying to convince anybody of anything! All I’ve done is search for something that Dawkins might have used as the source of his comment, and reported it.

    The line from Lila that seems to fit the bill is:
    “A person isn’t considered insane if there are a number of people who believe the same way … then it’s a religion.”

    Not the same words, I agree, so not a direct quote, but the meaning seems to match.

    Or have I misunderstood your point?

  40. blackflag1961 says:

    “When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.”
    That’s pretty much a quote from R.D. Laing’s ‘the facts of life.’
    Laing relates how once, in an American small town, a guy turned up on a street corner, wearing what looked like an old bed-sheet and babbling incoherently. The police were called and he was taken off to the local loony bin. A day or two later, a group of people, dressed in bed-sheets and babbling incoherently turned up on the same street corner. The police were called. It turned out, they were members of a fundamentalist Christian sect, who dressed in Biblical clothes and spoke in ‘tongues.’ They wanted to know where their friend had gone. He was duly released, as one nut is just a nut, but a group of them is a religion.

  41. PK says:

    Oake, I find statements ‘I have not read book A’ and ‘sentence Y does not exist in book A’ quite mutually exclusive. Thanks for your time and kind effort anyway.

    Blackflag1961, your Laing clue is appreciated. Shall ask my local librarian to get hold of ‘The Facts of Life’.

  42. Acolyte+of+Sagan says:

    PK, don’t you think it’s just a little bit rude to criticise somebody who’s gone out of their way to help you?
    As you claim to have read both books but cannot find the exact quote then I would suggest that oake’s search for something similar that Dawkins may have paraphrased was a step in the right direction.

    blackflag, it appears that ‘pretty much’ won’t cut it with PK; it’s the exact quote or nothing apparently.

    oake, I’m glad to have found a soul mate regarding Pirsig’s metabollocks too.

  43. oake says:


    You appear to have misread what I posted. I HAVE read book A (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance), and I thought I’d stated that quite clearly, and I also have book A in .pdf form, so I have been able to search for that sentence in book A, and report with confidence that it’s not there. Nor is there a sentence that even approximates to it.

    While I have not read book B (Lila), I have also been able to obtain a .pdf copy, and have therefore been able to search for the word ‘religion’, and reproduce any relevant occurrences.

    Are you saying that the Dawkins sentence DOES occur exactly as quoted in Z&tAoMM? If so, feel free to download the full text from http://www.bartneck.de/projects/research/pirsig/ and find it yourself.

    I was just trying to save people the time and trouble. I’m not sure what I’ve done to warrant your sarcasm.

  44. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Great minds think alike, oake. At least we tried to help, and within a couple of hours of being asked.

    If you’re pissed off at Dawkins for his lack of response, PK, please take it up with him.

  45. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Just out of curiosity I looked at The God Delusion last night. The quote is on page 28 and is attributed to ‘Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen…..‘, but Dawkins doesn’t say where or when Pirsig said or wrote it.
    If Dawkins wasn’t paraphrasing but quoting verbatim then the source is likely to be something obscure, an interview or magazine article, maybe even a private conversation.
    And that’s as far as I can be arsed to go.

  46. HackneyMartian says:

    two cents’ worth – you asked me about the Conway Hall talk with Francesca Stavrakopoulou and Adam Rutherford. Giles Fraser was also on the panel. Publicity here: http://www.conwayhall.org.uk/london-thinks-jan-2015. I think it was filmed so maybe it’ll be published on the conway hall youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/ConwayHall1929.

    The whole thing was a bit too knockabout for deep thought, but quite fun.

    For me the most striking remark was by Stavrakopoulou – ‘The bible isn’t an ethical document,’ (or similar phrase). I’d have liked to hear this pursued but it was said right at the end. There was just time for Fraser to leap in with ‘Exactly – it’s about salvation.’

    Fraser is a tricky feller, good at anticipating and undermining others’ arguments, deploying flippancy a lot, quite a showman. He conceded on the nativity (hi)story but dug in on the resurrection, saying that ‘it’s both true and not true’. A philosopher would’ve taken him to the cleaners, I suppose.

    Rutherford made the mistake early on of baldly asserting that science is the best way of knowing the world – a phrasing which led to a lot of going round about poetry etc. Later on, Fraser manoeuvred him into saying he has faith in science. Ouch.

    Fraser even claimed to be a humanist. Here’s what a humanist is and it’s not the same as a liberal christian: https://humanism.org.uk/humanism/

    Stavrakopoulou described how these days she has fundamentalists signing up for her courses confident that they’re going to shoot her down. Also talked about teaching cultural studies using taboo images, religious and sexual. She thinks Xty is declining & will have died out in 500 years or so. Also: Song of Solomon is porn; no, not erotica, because it’s all about the male gaze. I’d have liked to hear more from her.

  47. Shaughn says:

    “Later on, Fraser manoeuvred him into saying he has faith in science”

    Barmaid dealt with that: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2006/03/29/faith/

  48. HackneyMartian says:

    Shaughn says:
    “Later on, Fraser manoeuvred him into saying he has faith in science”
    Barmaid dealt with that: http://www.jesusandmo.net/2006/03/29/faith/

    Spot on. If only she’d been there. (Though it’s possible that Francesca Stavrakopoulou is a barmaid avatar.)

  49. JohnM says:

    An opportunity to hi-jack a poll by this odious, bigoted organisation, by voting “None” in all four categories.


    And I feel no guilt whatsoever in ticking the no-spammer box .

  50. FreeFox says:

    I read “Zen” once, on the platform behind a tanker car of a freight train along the Austrian Danube, and I seem to remember that I liked it. But I was barely 16, so maybe that counts as a defence. Anyway, the only thing that really stuck was the sentence somewhere in the very beginning, that “assembly of japanese bicycle require great peace of mind” (sic), and the simple but powerful idea that this applies to everything in life. I loved that idea – that to do anything correctly you fist need peace of mind. Although I actually disagree with that sentiment. I have been a practicioner of aikido and later ninjitsu for most of my life, and there is something to be said for that sort of inner balance. It can be a great source of strength and wisdom. But I always found that without football and parkour, without sheer passion and raw anger and almost masochistic determination, life lacks something at least as essential. That’s why I never could be a Buddist, let alone a Daoist. I am not happy when my life is a serenely running river. Too often I prefer sledding down a mountain a few yards ahead of an avalanche, with no idea what comes half a minute ahead of me. THAT is when Zen is a great state of mind. Riding on adrenalin. ^_^

    I have not yet read Dawkin’s God Delusion (I am sorry, as much as I worship Hitchens, and am in awe of Harris’ ideas, I think Dennet is a pompous patronising grandpa and Dawkins is an incredibly annoying righteous dork… something about him just rubs me the wrong way and I always want to kick his shins…) but I really like that page-long Pirsig quote about insanity and religion. I love it, because to me – as a deeply religious person, but one who refuses the stifling, stupifying shelter of a religious community – I totally agree. It IS a form of insanity.
    Neil Gaiman has Loki say in “The Kindly Ones”: “There is a madness needed to touch the Gods, yes, this is true. Few mortals possess it, the willingness to step away from the protection of sanity. To walk the wild wood of madness.”
    It is one of my regular prayers. Together with Herbert’s Litany against Fear (“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing… only I will remain.”) and Lovecraft’s Prayer to Hecate (“O friend and companion of night, thou who rejoicest in the baying of dogs and spilt blood, who wanderest in the midst of shades among the tombs, who longest for blood and bringest terror to mortals, Gorgo, Mormo, thousand-faced moon, look favourably on our sacrifices!”). Well. That last one was a joke. Maybe. 😉
    I adore rationality and reason. It is more than a tool, it is a whole way of looking at the world that offers it’s own. I mean, really, I *loved* reading Popper, and the whole idea of falsification vs. verification. But it is not the ONLY tool.
    I agree with all of you that for democracy, communication, and consens, reason is THE tool. It is invaluable in any complex social life. Poetry, intuition, ecstasy, and Magic (yes, Magic! There, I said it) are subjective, insane tools. And they break down when you try to treat them like something objective. But nevertheless, they are great, important, meanigful tools, and life is poorer without them.
    You all keep worshipping Apollo. But don’t forget that Dionysus is his brother. And he does throw the far better parties. ^_^

  51. FreeFox says:

    HackneyMartian: I dunno if the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) qualifies as porn for me – I have never wanked to it. But as someone who has risked and given everything for my beloved, I have to admit, in places it speaks to me quite powerfully.

    As for porn, if I am honest, there is some in the Bible. The story of David and Jonathan, Saul and Michal… it’s not written very well, you need to read a lot between the lines, but honestly, there really isn’t any way to read it non kinky… as a kid, David had to sit at aging King Saul’s bed every night and play the lyre for him (like, yeah, more like the flute). Then he and prince Jonathan (still about twice David’s age) fell for each other like a ton of bricks. Anyone claiming that wasn’t, like, real love is just plugging his ears and humming really loudly. David clearly states at Jonathan’s death that he loved him more than any woman. And that last time they met and spent the day secretly on that field…? But that is not enough, David also married Saul’s daughter and Jonathan sister Michal. That whole story is so romantic, fucked up, cruel, tender… just… yeah… I may have done the one or other Onan thinking about David. ^_^

  52. blackflag1961 says:

    freefox – ninjutsu? I never saw that coming.

  53. FreeFox says:

    Blackflag: As a former member of the Reformed Church of Alfredo, the practice of Ninjutsu was my most secret form of worship of His Noodliness. Later I realised my evil, sinful ways and joined the Ninja-Pirate Assembly of God, but still I use my ninja ways to protect Pastafrianism here in this land of couscous eating Infidels.

    Seriously, Aikido was forced on me at a rather tender age to help me control some, er, anger management issues. Later I was looking for a way to include knife fighting into my repertoir, and although my Aikido sentai trained me some in Bo-fighting, he refused to let me touch a blade. So I switched to a Ninjutsu Dojo where they were more accomodating. Also, I look better in black than in white. ^_^

  54. FreeFox says:

    Grrr… *sensei, not sentai!

  55. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    FreeFox, excellent comments as usual!
    I have to say that for me Dawkins and Bob Dylan fall into the same category: I can read what they’ve written and enjoy it, but I cannot listen to either. Dawkins because he sounds exactly as you described above, as well as pompous, condescending, supercilious, patronising, unholier-than-thou, and anachronistically posh, and Dylan because of that godawful nasal whine.
    Both are like fingernails on a blackboard to these old ears.

  56. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    By the way, just as an example that Pirsig was full of shit, assembling a Japanese motorcycle did not require peace of mind to build, just a large factory full of robotic machinery.

  57. Shaughn says:

    Shit it may be, but remember: shit is an excellent natural fertilizer.

  58. blackflag1961 says:

    AoS – bicycle, not motorcycle.
    I disagree with the anti-Pirsig comments on here; as an exemplar of the barbarity of late 20th century psychiatry, his testimony stands alongside ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest.’ I loved the book, possibly because I could relate to him; a man with a very high IQ who went off the rails, lost everything and fell into the hands of a quasi-religious cult (the psychiatric profession). Luckily for me, I escaped the electric-shock therapy. As an account of a man struggling to find his place in the world after mental collapse and the barbarism of psychiatric ‘care’ the book resonated. I liked motorcycles as well. (1969 BSA A65T).

  59. blackflag1961 says:

    I practiced Kendo for eight years back in the 80s. (Similar to you, it helped ‘anger management’ issues). Never fancied ninjutsu much – the idea of hiding in a bloke’s cess-pit to stab him up the arse when he took a dump never really appealed. I’ve a lot of respect for aikido.

  60. blackflag1961 says:

    Also, did you know that the Army has a Regiment of Ninjas? They get very disappointed by the low turn-out for their annual parades.

  61. FreeFox says:

    Blackflag: But… I like, er, stabbing a bloke up his arse… ^_^

    2007 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Yes. Really. And I love her.

  62. Acolyte of Sagan says:

    Blackflag, Pirsig might call it a bicycle, but a motorised bicycle is a motorcycle.
    Can’t complain about the ‘Bloody Sore Arse’ A65T though. Very impressed with your choice of ride too, FreeFox. And yes, I mean the Kwak.
    The last bike I had was a 1977 Kawasaki S1, a 750cc, three cylinder beastie. Sounded like Satan himself was screaming in yer lugholes when you gave it some throttle.

  63. Mary2 says:

    I’ve never read Zen etc. I seem to remember being bored half way through the first page and wanting to stab my eyes out with forks shortly thereafter.

    I have to disagree with you about Dawkins; I could listen raptly to him reading the phone book. He has a beautiful turn of phrase when writing and a speaking voice like melting chocolate. Yes, he is pompous and posh but he sounds so like a gentle stream on an afternoon in Spring ….

  64. WalterWalcarpit says:

    I’m with Mary on Dawkins and with AoS on Bob Dylan.
    And I’m all over the place with Robert M Persig, although I am bloody sure it was a Motorcycle.
    Why am I not surprised that FreeFox read it while hitching a ride on a freight train across Central Europe? I’d be prepared to bet that the white lines of “On the Road” had a certain resonance to him too.

    I read Zen & cetera back in the day. I think I read it in Indonesia but I might be mixing memories as that is the only place I have ridden a motorbike further than the front fence (although Bali to Timor fairly made up for that even if the bike was a mere toy to the aforementioned brutes and quite likely to get stuck on a piece of chewing gum).
    Anyway I seem to remember finding the book a bit like putting wisdom through a blender. But I must have come out on top because I did finish it and even went on to read Lila although I can’t say I remember much of that one – probably didn’t make it to the end.

    But there was one truly sublime passage in Zen that I often quote to this day as I fear it remains true. It is about how instruction manuals get written. In essence, when a new machine is assembled and about to be launched on the outside world someone remembers the need to explain how it works before it is purveyed to the purchaser. So some intern is sent to the shop floor to find out. On the floor the overworked foreman looks around and considers who can be spared and nominates the one least likely to be missed. Thus the instructions that get printed are written by the least qualified people in the entire production.
    Perhaps Oake can post the passage from hes PDF, it would be well worth a re-read.
    He did write it so much better than I.

    Oh, and I do think the original sentiment might have been RD Laing.
    But that’s just a faith thing.

  65. Anonymous says:

    extro24 says:
    January 23, 2015 at 8:43 am
    For some real offence, how about the Islamic way to beat your wife: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ChnpaMK1oLQ

    So in a lesbian marriage who gets to beat who?


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