Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Thoughts of the Day: Same Sex Marriage

So same sex marriage is actually a thing. Not having lived in the Western world for nearly two decades, this is somewhat baffling, and not just to me, but to most of the people around me too. What is yet more baffling is that not only do the advocates seem unable to articulate why they believe same sex marriage should be legitimized beyond some extensively vague notion of "rights" and "equality", it's also apparently beyond them that there could be any legitimate opposition to it other than sheer bigotry. So how on earth has any country actually gone through with this, in the absence of any kind of serious public debate? 

What seems to me to have happened is that you have a minority of yay sayers on the one side shouting at the Westboro Baptist Church on the other. Meanwhile, a silent majority sits in the middle confused, afraid to even start a discussion lest they be branded homophobic bigots with no more right to walk god's fair earth than Satan himself, just for daring to question what should apparently be self-evident. Ultimately they sided with the yay sayers because they just can't think of a good reason not to allow SSM—they know they're not homophobes, and they want everyone to have nice things and be happy, but they're also not allowed to ask questions so it's mostly taken on faith that this would be the obvious result. Besides, the yay sayers are a much scarier bunch to piss off than the "god hates fags" placarders, because seriously who even listens to those guys, but that's just my experience. And that's why there is now a thing called same sex marriage.

I too had initially been part of that silent majority, completely on the fence about the whole issue (after all, what business is it of mine how other people conduct their own private affairs?). But I've also never been one to bandwagon. So in the absense of any coherent arguments being brought forth, I decided to conduct my own research into the actual pros, cons and other implications and considerations, and that's why I now find myself in the opposition camp.

Q. What?! You're against same sex marriage jabber prattle?!

A. Were I any of the things mentioned in that long list of expletive riddled accusations that were probably just reeled off, it would be irrelevant to the facts as I understand them.

In pragmatic terms, marriage is different from all other kinds of companionate relationships in one specific and consistent non-arbitrary way: it centres around partners uniting for the purpose of procreation and child rearing. This understanding is in no way controversial or new. 

Additionally, the State has an obligation towards the welfare of the next generation of citizens. Fully aware that all research confirms what was already inherently understood—that children in low-conflict households raised by both natural parents on average do better in every area of life than with any other kind of family arrangement—it makes sense for the State to specifically endorse marriage as a framework to encourage such healthy family environments. Healthy family environments produce healthy future civil minded law abiding tax paying voters!

Extending the definition of marriage to include unions that by design cannot produce offspring under any circumstance would first of all offer no tangible benefit to the State over the existing definition. More importantly though, it would render moot the crucial non-arbitrary distinction that sets marriage apart: it could no longer be about the production and raising of children. 

And without this crucial non-arbitrary distinction, there is no reason for the State to endorse or sanction it in any way.

So to put it in easily Tweatable terms so as to more efficiently tarnish my reputation on the internet, an argument for same sex marriage is an argument for the abandonment of marriage as a state sanctioned union. That leaves you 31 characters to fling poo with. Off you go. I’ll wait!

Q. But what about blah blah blah?

A. Absolutely. No system is perfect, and marriage is no exception. Some marriages fail, and they are seen as failures, especially towards any children involved. Some couples turn out to be infertile, and this is generally viewed as a loss for their marriage. Some get married without any intention of having children, which really raises the question of why they’d want to sacrifice their freedoms like that—kind of akin to paying to go to the cinema so they can watch the trailer for the next Harry Potter film, and then leaving before the main feature, or taking driving lessons and sitting the test so you can use the driving licence as a photo ID. None of these change the intent of the institution, or its crucial non-arbitrary distinction, and they’re certainly not an argument for expanding the nets of its arguable shortcomings.

Q. But it’s not fair because yada yada!

A. That’s very true. Depending on where you live, married couples get certain benefits such as being able to file income taxes together (mind the married tax penalty there!), or preferential treatment as a partner if one is hospitalized, etc. Obviously these make sense in the context of maintaining a stable low-conflict household, but if anybody wanted to put forward some arguments for extending some of these rights to other forms of companionate relationships, I think advocacy of such a thing would make far more sense than abolishing the State sanction of marriage altogether.

Q. But something about equality dribble yarn

A. You cannot have marriage equality because a heterosexual union and a homosexual union are not inherently equal. In fact one of those specifically unequal things is the precise reason marriage is intended for heterosexual unions. 

Q. But what about the right to trumpet dribble so on and so forth?

A. Ah yes, adoption. First off, marriage does not give one a right to adopt, and anybody that sincerely thinks it does should be disqualified as a candidate on that basis. The rights of innocent children are important, your personal sense of entitlement is not. Secondly, in most countries, marriage is not even a requirement for candidacy anyway, so any talk of adoption is essentially a red herring.

If you want more information as to why many believe that marriage eligibility criteria should not be extended to same sex unions, so as to better engage in an intellectual discussion on either side, I recommend http://discussingmarriage.org/ The site is open about its bias, but does its best to represent both sides fairly and with intellectual honesty. "The Conjugal vs. Revisionist Views of Marriage" is a particularly good starting point for understanding why disagreement even exists on a topic where both sides think they're so obviously right.

So to finish with some questions: 

Q1. Why would gays and lesbians in a kind of companionate relationship that under no circumstances could ever produce offspring, wish to legitimise that union via willing participation in a specific State sanctioned institute that is structured entirely around producing offspring? 

Q2. If an alternative arrangement was available which offered essentially the same benefits, only better suited to a non-reproductive union, would this not be preferable?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Honest Movie Posters

It's always bugged me the way that movie posters cherry-pick their reviews.





Friday, November 08, 2013

Wilfully deceitful woman gets divorced and sued

Not sure why this 2004 story coming out of China is making the rounds again, but I guess those clicks have to come from somewhere. Thanks to modern reportage being in the metaphorical gutter, it's little surprise that people are now siding with the wife over this. Don't let her dupe you too. Not feeling it was worth mentioning that she'd been to South Korea and spent $100,000 on cosmetic surgery before they met is one thing, but did she really expect anyone to believe that in the entire time they were dating, married, having children, and taking paternity tests it was just coincidence that he never got to see a single picture of her growing up? Beauty is subjective, but there's no evidence that loaded words like "ugly" were ever used by the people involved. Appearance is a central part of who you are, and she went so far out of her way to perpetuate a lie about who she was from the moment she met him that I don't think anybody wouldn't feel betrayed by this.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Another Idiot "Pastafarian" Misses Point of Own Argument

Professional idiot Eddie Castillo, self-professed "Pastafarian" has won the battle to be photographed on his driving license wearing a strainer on his head, quoting religious reasons. Well done there. Now let's take a look at why it's a little too early to be celebrating:

By completely missing the point, you've made the situation you're protesting worse 

Yes, the whole idea of "Pastafarianism" was to satirise and protest the special treatment that certain groups get based on seemingly arbitrary beliefs. Far from highlighting the ludicrousy of this, you've expanded accommodation of such beliefs at a State level, the precise opposite of what you're supposed to be trying to achieve. Was there a special school you went to to become that stupid.  

Prepare to be Pious 

I hope that your friends, neighbours, and work colleagues are still taking you seriously as you wear a strainer on your head all day every day. What? You're not doing that? You mean you lied about your religious beliefs to the DMV? Oh dear, that wasn't clever was it—you've committed a felony and now face up to six months prison time and a maximum $1,000 fine. I hope that promoting religious freedom and making the situation worse was worth it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Coal Jumping and Looking Intense


There's at least one from every performance. Could probably start a Tumblr page about this...

Plenty more festivals yet to go!

Monday, July 08, 2013

Primal Fear: The Abridged Script

Here's another abridged script in the style of Rod Hilton.

PRIMAL FEAR
INT. COURT ROOM
RICHARD GERE moves to wrap up his summary in the case of the People vs EDWARD NORTON over a brutal murder of an archbishop. ALFRE WOODARD is the presiding judge.

ALFRE WOODARD
Sorry, who am I again?

RICHARD GERE
I'm sure I've seen you in something. I don't think it's that important though.

ALFRE WOODARD
That's no help at all. Go ahead then.

RICHARD GERE
And so you see your honor, my client EDWARD NORTON suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, and therefore cannot be guilty of the brutal murder of the archbishop for reasons of insanity. It was a separate personality named Tyler that did it.
LAURA LINNEY stands to offer her rebuttal.

LAURA LINNEY
I know that an excruciating amount of screen time has been dedicated to the very unusual nature of our private relationship, which serves no purpose to the plot other than to provide contrived filler, and the audience are probably thinking right now that I will come round to seeing things your way, but I'm calling bullshit on this one. That defense is weak even by YOUR standards.

EDWARD NORTON
(Stuttering)
I… I… I… couldn't hurt a fly ma'am. I'm too… too… timid, and in… in… innocent looking.

LAURA LINNEY
You shut your gaping cakehole you whiney little bitch. I'm busy here pretending not to flirt with RICHARD GERE in the context of professional rivalry.

EDWARD NORTON
(Not stuttering)
Ah hah! It is I, Tyler, the guilty party in this trial. To prove it, I will now proceed to murder you right here in front of all these people. Because that's what we murderers do. Muhahahahahaaaaaaaa!

LAURA LINNEY
My goodness, the stutter has gone and his general demeanor is slightly different. It stands to reason therefore that every aspect of his defence must be factually correct. Your honor, I concur with RICHARD GERE that he must be found not guilty, for reasons of insanity.

ALFRE WOODARD
This case has proven to be very inconvenient, as my facial expression has consistently attested to throughout the proceedings. I therefore find the defendant not guilty, for reasons of insanity, and that he be taken from this place to a high security medical institute for some very invasive treatment that probably won't be a huge improvement over the prison sentence he narrowly avoided. Get out of my courtroom!

LAURA LINNEY
Three cheers for the accused!

INT. HOLDING CELL
RICHARD GERE enters:

RICHARD GERE
Well that sure worked out well for everybody involved.

EDWARD NORTON
Ex… ex… except the archbishop I brutally murdered in cold blood. Hahaha!

RICHARD GERE
Yeah, hahaha!
Hold on a second… ?! What did you just say?

EDWARD NORTON
Whoops, I guess the game's up. Pity they've already found me not guilty, for reasons of insanity.

RICHARD GERE
So let me get this straight, Tyler is the real you, and farm boy is just a persona you used to trick the judge into getting a lighter sentence?

EDWARD NORTON
Yes, a genius plot don't you think, and brilliantly carried out.

RICHARD GERE
But as I made perfectly clear from the outset, I have no morals or professional ethics, and honestly couldn't care less whether you did it or not. In fact it was the assumption that you had actually done it that got me interested in the case in the first place. If you'd told me what was going on, I'm sure we could have milked it better, and probably have gotten you out of that whole mental institution thing.

EDWARD NORTON
Hindsight is 20/20.

RICHARD GERE
So out of morbid curiosity, what was your real motivation for the murder of the archbishop?

EDWARD NORTON
Well, I just love murdering people so much. Brutally mind. Which is not to say I do it all the time. Actually it was just that one time, and the attempted murder in the courtroom, though I wasn't really going to kill her—I was just going to rough her up a bit, break her neck, squeeze the life out of her worthless carcass and piss on her hair.

RICHARD GERE
But you'd been around the archbishop for so long, why did you choose to kill him at that precise moment in time? And out of further curiosity, was it necessary to keep up the farm boy persona in front of him too? If so, why?

EDWARD NORTON
Murdering him brutally just suddenly seemed like it would be a really fun thing to do. Of course, I knew I'd get caught, but luckily, several years in advance I'd put into effect this implausibly complex gambit as a precaution. When I woke up that morning and the thought came to me that killing the archbishop would be a hoot, I knew some hotshot lawyer like yourself would get me off the hook to win some kind of a bet or whatever, so it was a good thing I'd spent years nurturing a shy but likable farm boy persona in addition to a more dominating and murderous sub-personality, so that said lawyer would have more material to flesh out the defense. And now I get to spend time at a mental institution, so it's a win win.

RICHARD GERE
Wouldn't it have been smarter to try not getting caught? You all but gave yourself up, and even the slightest attempt to cover your tracks would have increased your odds of succeeding to 100%.

EDWARD NORTON
It seemed like a lot of hassle.

RICHARD GERE
And how about instead of murdering the archbishop, you murder somebody with no connection to you whatsoever? As you said, it wasn't personal, it was simply that you like to murder, in theory at that juncture leastways.

EDWARD NORTON
It was the hat. Archbishop hats just piss me off for some reason.

RICHARD GERE
That's the first thing you've said that makes any sense at all.

The audience exit the cinema believing they've seen a clever psychological thriller, because the unnecessary and extensive scenes of RICHARD GERE and LAURA LINNEY flirting dulled the portions of their brains that deal with critical analytical thought processes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Three problems with the moon landing hoax theory


There are three main problems with the moon landing hoax theory, in order as follows:
  1. It's bollocks.
  2. Its main advocates know this.
  3. They additionally think you're stupid enough to believe any old anti-establishment crap they can squeeze out of their lying faceholes, and get a massive ego boost out of proving how much cleverer they are than you by manipulating your gullibility into making you believe that you are the smartest person in the history of ever.
If you claim to believe the moon landing was all a hoax, you are a fraud or a very gullible idiot.