Category Archives: Social Commentary

The War On The Easter Bunny

They’re at it again:

A small Easter display was removed from the City Hall lobby on Wednesday out of concern that it would offend non-Christians.

The display – a cloth Easter bunny, pastel-colored eggs and a sign with the words “Happy Easter” – was put up by a City Council secretary. They were not purchased with city money.

Tyrone Terrill, the city’s human rights director, asked that the decorations be removed. Terrill said no citizen had complained to him.

This is getting ridiculous.

Life’s Pleasures Lost?

John Derbyshire says that Peter Sellers isn’t funny any more:

We all know, of course, that humor is perishable, and that what made our parents — or even our younger selves — laugh can leave us stone faced. There are degrees of perishability, though, and the very best humor can stay funny for decades. I thought Sellers was in that league. Nope. His repertoire was narrower than I’d remembered — really just two or three funny voices and a couple of facial expressions.

Yes, I’ve noticed that things that I thought uproariously funny when I was younger (and I don’t necessarily mean a child) no longer so. I don’t know if it’s a difference in my sensibilities as I’ve matured (or at least grown older) or that humor has its own fashion and milieu. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, but it’s clearly changed. I wonder what would happen to it after a couple hundred years? What will I find funny then?

Anyway, as further recent illustration, on a flight back from California a couple weeks ago, I saw The Bellboy, Jerry Lewis’ directing debut, and thought by many to be his greatest work. I have vague memories of my parents taking me to see it in the theatres (the only way one generally saw movies then) as a little kid. I don’t remember particularly enjoying it at the time, but I can say that on the more recent viewing, I not only never laughed, there was only one scene that even elicited a smile from me. I can’t remember what it was, now.

I kept watching, hoping for something actually funny to happen, and when the plane landed before it was over, I had no sense of disappointment, because I’d given up. I was astounded in fact at how unfunny the movie was. I’d always thought that he was overrated, but I hadn’t previously comprehended just how much so. One more reason to think that the French are not just a different nationality, but a different species.

[Update a few minutes later]

Just to show I haven’t lost it completely, this joke (found over on Free Republic) got a chuckle out of me:

An old sergeant once went up to an attractive young woman.

“Ma’am, can you please help a lonely soldier? I haven’t made love since 1955.”

“Oh, you poor thing!” The young woman took the sergeant back to her apartment, where they enjoyed a more-than-mutually-satisfactory romp. Afterwards the woman leaned back and purred at the sergeant:

“For a man who hasn’t had sex since 1955, you certainly haven’t forgotten much!”

The sergeant checked his watch. “No reason why I would have, Ma’am; it’s only 2130.”

Life’s Pleasures Lost?

John Derbyshire says that Peter Sellers isn’t funny any more:

We all know, of course, that humor is perishable, and that what made our parents — or even our younger selves — laugh can leave us stone faced. There are degrees of perishability, though, and the very best humor can stay funny for decades. I thought Sellers was in that league. Nope. His repertoire was narrower than I’d remembered — really just two or three funny voices and a couple of facial expressions.

Yes, I’ve noticed that things that I thought uproariously funny when I was younger (and I don’t necessarily mean a child) no longer so. I don’t know if it’s a difference in my sensibilities as I’ve matured (or at least grown older) or that humor has its own fashion and milieu. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, but it’s clearly changed. I wonder what would happen to it after a couple hundred years? What will I find funny then?

Anyway, as further recent illustration, on a flight back from California a couple weeks ago, I saw The Bellboy, Jerry Lewis’ directing debut, and thought by many to be his greatest work. I have vague memories of my parents taking me to see it in the theatres (the only way one generally saw movies then) as a little kid. I don’t remember particularly enjoying it at the time, but I can say that on the more recent viewing, I not only never laughed, there was only one scene that even elicited a smile from me. I can’t remember what it was, now.

I kept watching, hoping for something actually funny to happen, and when the plane landed before it was over, I had no sense of disappointment, because I’d given up. I was astounded in fact at how unfunny the movie was. I’d always thought that he was overrated, but I hadn’t previously comprehended just how much so. One more reason to think that the French are not just a different nationality, but a different species.

[Update a few minutes later]

Just to show I haven’t lost it completely, this joke (found over on Free Republic) got a chuckle out of me:

An old sergeant once went up to an attractive young woman.

“Ma’am, can you please help a lonely soldier? I haven’t made love since 1955.”

“Oh, you poor thing!” The young woman took the sergeant back to her apartment, where they enjoyed a more-than-mutually-satisfactory romp. Afterwards the woman leaned back and purred at the sergeant:

“For a man who hasn’t had sex since 1955, you certainly haven’t forgotten much!”

The sergeant checked his watch. “No reason why I would have, Ma’am; it’s only 2130.”

Life’s Pleasures Lost?

John Derbyshire says that Peter Sellers isn’t funny any more:

We all know, of course, that humor is perishable, and that what made our parents — or even our younger selves — laugh can leave us stone faced. There are degrees of perishability, though, and the very best humor can stay funny for decades. I thought Sellers was in that league. Nope. His repertoire was narrower than I’d remembered — really just two or three funny voices and a couple of facial expressions.

Yes, I’ve noticed that things that I thought uproariously funny when I was younger (and I don’t necessarily mean a child) no longer so. I don’t know if it’s a difference in my sensibilities as I’ve matured (or at least grown older) or that humor has its own fashion and milieu. I haven’t lost my sense of humor, but it’s clearly changed. I wonder what would happen to it after a couple hundred years? What will I find funny then?

Anyway, as further recent illustration, on a flight back from California a couple weeks ago, I saw The Bellboy, Jerry Lewis’ directing debut, and thought by many to be his greatest work. I have vague memories of my parents taking me to see it in the theatres (the only way one generally saw movies then) as a little kid. I don’t remember particularly enjoying it at the time, but I can say that on the more recent viewing, I not only never laughed, there was only one scene that even elicited a smile from me. I can’t remember what it was, now.

I kept watching, hoping for something actually funny to happen, and when the plane landed before it was over, I had no sense of disappointment, because I’d given up. I was astounded in fact at how unfunny the movie was. I’d always thought that he was overrated, but I hadn’t previously comprehended just how much so. One more reason to think that the French are not just a different nationality, but a different species.

[Update a few minutes later]

Just to show I haven’t lost it completely, this joke (found over on Free Republic) got a chuckle out of me:

An old sergeant once went up to an attractive young woman.

“Ma’am, can you please help a lonely soldier? I haven’t made love since 1955.”

“Oh, you poor thing!” The young woman took the sergeant back to her apartment, where they enjoyed a more-than-mutually-satisfactory romp. Afterwards the woman leaned back and purred at the sergeant:

“For a man who hasn’t had sex since 1955, you certainly haven’t forgotten much!”

The sergeant checked his watch. “No reason why I would have, Ma’am; it’s only 2130.”

Don’t Fool Yourself

Here’s an essay by a home-schooled college student, who thinks that it’s a lousy way to get an education:

Raposa told us that prior to the founding of Jamestown, England’s only other experience with colonization was in Ireland. Raising my hand, I suggested that the English rule of Normandy constituted a sort of reverse colonization. “I’ve never thought of that,” said the professor, who then felt obligated to explain to the rest of the historically ignorant class why England was connected to Normandy. Further research reminded me that Wales was also a pre-Jamestown English colonization experience.

One obstacle to actual education during this class was that the lacking education of my obviously public-schooled classmates required precious lecture time be spent discussing historical facts any high-school graduate should already know.

“Washington didn’t actually chop down a cherry tree,” the professor told us, eliciting a surprised response from the students. Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors from Spain in addition to funding Columbus’ voyage, taught the professor, who astounded my classmates when he said scientists in Columbus’ time didn’t actually believe in a flat earth. Only my hand went up when the professor asked how many of us knew what the Crusades were, so he had to spend twenty minutes explaining them. The incident I’ll never forget because it was so indicative of the ignorance of both the students and the professor came a few weeks into the course. During a break, one student mentioned to Raposa that he’d been reading and came across an unfamiliar term. “What does ‘Anglo-Saxon’ mean?” Professor Raposa hesitated a minute, saying he wasn’t entirely certain of the term’s origin. The answer is pretty simple, especially for a history major like our professor. The Anglo-Saxons were the pre-Norman inhabitants of England. The term is derived from the coupling of the Angle tribe and the Saxons of Saxony, Germany.

I didn’t learn a thing from my entire history class. Well, no. That’s not true. I did learn about staple crop economies. I told my family about this at dinner one night, however, and my 14-year-old sister piped up. “Oh, I already know about those. I just read about them in a book the other day.”

Well, I did learn one other thing. Remember those papers about Garrison’s essays I mentioned? I paid special attention to the first two papers, researching Garrison’s essays, analyzing them, and refuting them. I met all the requirements for the assignment, even abiding by the page-limit, yet both my articles only received B’s. The professor explained that he didn’t want us going beyond the assignment requirements, so he marked my papers down. I learned that if you want to succeed in college, you should only do the bare minimum.

This was just one class. I could mention my journalism class, which taught me nothing. Or my argumentation class, which taught me nothing. Or even my American government class at the highly-regarded Patrick Henry College, which taught me (you guessed it!) nothing. This isn’t intended as a commentary on my own intelligence, as I’m a mediocre student at best. Rather, the problem is that college classes these days don’t teach anything that the average student from a good homeschool high-school hasn’t already learned.

The whole systems seems to be broken, from K12 through grad school. I suspect that it’s got the same problem that the health-care system does–the people who are getting the service aren’t the ones paying for it.

Don’t Fool Yourself

Here’s an essay by a home-schooled college student, who thinks that it’s a lousy way to get an education:

Raposa told us that prior to the founding of Jamestown, England’s only other experience with colonization was in Ireland. Raising my hand, I suggested that the English rule of Normandy constituted a sort of reverse colonization. “I’ve never thought of that,” said the professor, who then felt obligated to explain to the rest of the historically ignorant class why England was connected to Normandy. Further research reminded me that Wales was also a pre-Jamestown English colonization experience.

One obstacle to actual education during this class was that the lacking education of my obviously public-schooled classmates required precious lecture time be spent discussing historical facts any high-school graduate should already know.

“Washington didn’t actually chop down a cherry tree,” the professor told us, eliciting a surprised response from the students. Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors from Spain in addition to funding Columbus’ voyage, taught the professor, who astounded my classmates when he said scientists in Columbus’ time didn’t actually believe in a flat earth. Only my hand went up when the professor asked how many of us knew what the Crusades were, so he had to spend twenty minutes explaining them. The incident I’ll never forget because it was so indicative of the ignorance of both the students and the professor came a few weeks into the course. During a break, one student mentioned to Raposa that he’d been reading and came across an unfamiliar term. “What does ‘Anglo-Saxon’ mean?” Professor Raposa hesitated a minute, saying he wasn’t entirely certain of the term’s origin. The answer is pretty simple, especially for a history major like our professor. The Anglo-Saxons were the pre-Norman inhabitants of England. The term is derived from the coupling of the Angle tribe and the Saxons of Saxony, Germany.

I didn’t learn a thing from my entire history class. Well, no. That’s not true. I did learn about staple crop economies. I told my family about this at dinner one night, however, and my 14-year-old sister piped up. “Oh, I already know about those. I just read about them in a book the other day.”

Well, I did learn one other thing. Remember those papers about Garrison’s essays I mentioned? I paid special attention to the first two papers, researching Garrison’s essays, analyzing them, and refuting them. I met all the requirements for the assignment, even abiding by the page-limit, yet both my articles only received B’s. The professor explained that he didn’t want us going beyond the assignment requirements, so he marked my papers down. I learned that if you want to succeed in college, you should only do the bare minimum.

This was just one class. I could mention my journalism class, which taught me nothing. Or my argumentation class, which taught me nothing. Or even my American government class at the highly-regarded Patrick Henry College, which taught me (you guessed it!) nothing. This isn’t intended as a commentary on my own intelligence, as I’m a mediocre student at best. Rather, the problem is that college classes these days don’t teach anything that the average student from a good homeschool high-school hasn’t already learned.

The whole systems seems to be broken, from K12 through grad school. I suspect that it’s got the same problem that the health-care system does–the people who are getting the service aren’t the ones paying for it.

Don’t Fool Yourself

Here’s an essay by a home-schooled college student, who thinks that it’s a lousy way to get an education:

Raposa told us that prior to the founding of Jamestown, England’s only other experience with colonization was in Ireland. Raising my hand, I suggested that the English rule of Normandy constituted a sort of reverse colonization. “I’ve never thought of that,” said the professor, who then felt obligated to explain to the rest of the historically ignorant class why England was connected to Normandy. Further research reminded me that Wales was also a pre-Jamestown English colonization experience.

One obstacle to actual education during this class was that the lacking education of my obviously public-schooled classmates required precious lecture time be spent discussing historical facts any high-school graduate should already know.

“Washington didn’t actually chop down a cherry tree,” the professor told us, eliciting a surprised response from the students. Ferdinand and Isabella drove the Moors from Spain in addition to funding Columbus’ voyage, taught the professor, who astounded my classmates when he said scientists in Columbus’ time didn’t actually believe in a flat earth. Only my hand went up when the professor asked how many of us knew what the Crusades were, so he had to spend twenty minutes explaining them. The incident I’ll never forget because it was so indicative of the ignorance of both the students and the professor came a few weeks into the course. During a break, one student mentioned to Raposa that he’d been reading and came across an unfamiliar term. “What does ‘Anglo-Saxon’ mean?” Professor Raposa hesitated a minute, saying he wasn’t entirely certain of the term’s origin. The answer is pretty simple, especially for a history major like our professor. The Anglo-Saxons were the pre-Norman inhabitants of England. The term is derived from the coupling of the Angle tribe and the Saxons of Saxony, Germany.

I didn’t learn a thing from my entire history class. Well, no. That’s not true. I did learn about staple crop economies. I told my family about this at dinner one night, however, and my 14-year-old sister piped up. “Oh, I already know about those. I just read about them in a book the other day.”

Well, I did learn one other thing. Remember those papers about Garrison’s essays I mentioned? I paid special attention to the first two papers, researching Garrison’s essays, analyzing them, and refuting them. I met all the requirements for the assignment, even abiding by the page-limit, yet both my articles only received B’s. The professor explained that he didn’t want us going beyond the assignment requirements, so he marked my papers down. I learned that if you want to succeed in college, you should only do the bare minimum.

This was just one class. I could mention my journalism class, which taught me nothing. Or my argumentation class, which taught me nothing. Or even my American government class at the highly-regarded Patrick Henry College, which taught me (you guessed it!) nothing. This isn’t intended as a commentary on my own intelligence, as I’m a mediocre student at best. Rather, the problem is that college classes these days don’t teach anything that the average student from a good homeschool high-school hasn’t already learned.

The whole systems seems to be broken, from K12 through grad school. I suspect that it’s got the same problem that the health-care system does–the people who are getting the service aren’t the ones paying for it.

Good, I’m Not The Only One

You know how “everyone loves Lucy”? I never did. I always thought that she was an embarrassment to womankind, and never found the show all that funny. Apparently, Lileks wasn’t impressed, either:

Lucille Ball also shows up, and you can smell the cigarette smoke from 30 years away. She did not give the impression of being a particularly pleasant person.

[Warning, just a small snippet from a much larger, mostly unrelated Bleat. But it’s Lileks–go read it anyway.]

Good, I’m Not The Only One

You know how “everyone loves Lucy”? I never did. I always thought that she was an embarrassment to womankind, and never found the show all that funny. Apparently, Lileks wasn’t impressed, either:

Lucille Ball also shows up, and you can smell the cigarette smoke from 30 years away. She did not give the impression of being a particularly pleasant person.

[Warning, just a small snippet from a much larger, mostly unrelated Bleat. But it’s Lileks–go read it anyway.]

Good, I’m Not The Only One

You know how “everyone loves Lucy”? I never did. I always thought that she was an embarrassment to womankind, and never found the show all that funny. Apparently, Lileks wasn’t impressed, either:

Lucille Ball also shows up, and you can smell the cigarette smoke from 30 years away. She did not give the impression of being a particularly pleasant person.

[Warning, just a small snippet from a much larger, mostly unrelated Bleat. But it’s Lileks–go read it anyway.]