We Pay People who Pretend to be Doctors …

So the other day I caught a glimpse, by accident, of one of those entertainment shows, on which someone talks about and to actors, rock stars, and so on, and it hit me: we pay people who pretend to be doctors more than we pay people who actually are doctors.

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Cultural Anarchy

Why is it that so many people claim, usually with considerable passion, “I’m an American!” or “I’m Canadian” or what have you?

To identify yourself by country is to accept the territorial divisions made by people with economic power eager to retain that power.  So why the passion?  Read the rest of this entry »

Digital Thought

On/off, yes/no, either/or, in/out, for/against, male/female, win/lose, true/false, right/wrong, black/white, all/nothing, 0/1.

Preachers do it. Lawyers do it.

Why have we become so enamoured with digital thought? What’s the attraction?

It’s precise. Precision is good.

It’s fast. We like that.

It’s easy. We like that even more.

But any educator will tell you that T/F tests are the sparrows of measurement. They can handle knowledge, and maybe comprehension. (Multiple choice tests, the robins, are just one step better. Except for the LSAT, the smartass bluejay, which is designed by demented geniuses who have made a science of turning a curve ball into a triple helix and figured out how to get paid for doing it.)

So digital thought is perfect for this so-called information age. (And surprise, computers do it.) But knowledge and comprehension are the lowest levels on Bloom’s taxonomy of cognitive skills. What about application? Analysis? Synthesis? Evaluation? What, no time for critical thought? Too busy surfing the net to notice you’re in an ocean of shit?

Thing is, digital thought is, well, limited. Most of life isn’t subject to such precision, isn’t true or false, black or white. Ever hear of the false dichotomy? It’s an error in reasoning, it’s when you assume, erroneously, that there are only two possibilities. So it leaves out a lot. (For example, subtlety.)

It encourages extremism. It ignores the richness of a continuum, a spectrum. Between all and nothing is something. Lots of somethings.

And it sets up competition. It has no room for compromise, for combination.

In short, it’s two dimensional. Frogs do it: if it moves, it’s food; if it doesn’t, don’t bother. Are we frogs? Yes/No.

Speaking in Code

“I just can’t give any more, sorry.” But of course he can. He just doesn’t want to. By saying “can’t” instead of “won’t”, however, he appears powerless and thus absolves himself of responsibility; as a result, we don’t even consider the matter of blame.

“That’s not gonna happen.” Okay. So informed, we move on. But in most cases, the accurate, honest, statement would have been “I don’t think that’s gonna happen” or “I don’t want that to happen.” By presenting an opinion as fact, the speaker has diverted our attention from evidence and reasons. Why don’t you think that’s going to happen? Why don’t you want that to happen? Read the rest of this entry »

Every day in every way …

Every day in every way the world is getting better and better.  Yeah right.

Well why isn’t it?  Every day there’s a whole new batch of young adults just chafing at the bit to change the world.  What happens?

They become parents.

So first, Read the rest of this entry »

A New Three-Strike Law

There are over 2 million people in prison. Each week, there’s another thousand.  We pay for their housing, food, medical care, education – about $30,000 per year per prisoner.

So I propose a new three-strike law: first crime, you get rehab (maybe it was truly an accident; maybe you’ll change your mind about stuff; maybe you’ll grow up); second crime, you get imprisoned (okay, this is punishment, pure and simple, because if that’s what it takes – ); third crime, you get exiled – you get kicked out. Read the rest of this entry »

Death for Willy?

I was sort of attacked by a dog a while ago when I was out running.  It wasn’t really a severe attack: I was simply taken down, like a deer, in a well-executed stealth manoeuvre by a large German Shepherd; he did not, nor did his companion, come in for the kill, or even the maul – I was left with a single but deep and ragged bite requiring half a dozen stitches.

It wasn’t provoked – well, perhaps it was – in the way a red miniskirt provokes an assault:  I was running, which in itself is provocative to most canines for at least accompaniment, if not pursuit; and I was running past (but not on) his property, so I was, given the canine propensity to extend legal boundaries by a few miles, ‘in his face’.

Thing is, Read the rest of this entry »

Getting Married

When you ‘get married’ you are entering into a legal contract. You might be doing a few other things (promising your love to someone, making a deal with a god), but you are most certainly entering into a legally binding contract with another person. There are rights due to and responsibilities incumbent upon people who enter into a marriage contract. Some of these have to do with money, some have to do with children, some have to do with sexual services, and some have to do with other things.

What I find so extremely odd is that even though well over 90% of all people in the USA and Canada get married, almost none of them read the terms of the contract before they sign. (Most people find out about these terms only when they want to break the contract.) Probably because the contract isn’t presented when their signatures are required.

Although this begs the question ‘Is the contract, therefore, still binding?’, the more interesting question is ‘Why isn’t it presented?’

What Went Wrong with Political Correctness?

My guess is that it started well enough, as sensitivity: people realized that terms such as ‘crippled’ and ‘retarded’ had gathered too many negative connotations, had become insults; so they replaced them with new words such as ‘physically challenged’ and ‘mentally challenged’ – words that, because new, would be free of such slant.

This linguistic reform became called, I suggest, ‘political correctness’ – perhaps by people (men?) who couldn’t say (let alone be considered) ‘sensitive’.

From there, Read the rest of this entry »

Appropriation or Imagination?

Two poems of mine have been published in a journal dedicated to “the Black experience”. An audio piece of mine has been aired on Native radio programs. I am neither Black nor Native. Had this been known, I suspect some might have accused me of cultural appropriation.

It’s an interesting idea, but Read the rest of this entry »