Some Other Stuff

More thoughts.
  • Though his motives for saying so are suspect, Stanley Fish was absolutely correct when he said Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" was the most overrated work in the nonfiction canon. Not only does Orwell demonstrate his Dr. Strangelove anti-Catholicism tic, he also espouses the same "adverbs bad!", "passive voice—unclean, unclean!" taboo-mongering that has crippled late-modern prose. And then he espouses etymology—namely, whether a word is "Anglo-Saxon" or not—as a principle in diction.

    Now, while one ought never to pointlessly use a big ol' Greco-Roman word where a little stubby English (or, up yours Orwell, French) one will do, I know of only two places that taboo words of foreign provenance in that manner. Namely, Nazi Germany and North Korea. Then again, who's surprised? All the murderous ideologies of the last two centuries are based on the lies of the English nationalists, and no Englishman is so rabidly a nationalist as the socialist. See also H. G. "shoving the Boers into concentration-camps is the best thing ever" Wells.
  • In a comment on my post where I mentioned electric-car enthusiasts being like muscle-car enthusiasts, my sister pointed out that the Leaf gets 70 miles on a single battery. But the 1968 Charger gets about 90 miles on a tank of gas, which leaves you precisely as boned, where we come from.

    I'm not sure if I can endorse her (and the UNSC's) advocacy of fuel cells. Apparently there are all kinds of issues with hydrogen cells in terms of the energy costs to get the stuff, containing it in vehicles, and how much energy you can realistically extract (one figure I saw says that hydrogen fuel's effective energy density is only 150 watt-hours per liter, which is pretty much what we get from batteries).

    Of course, all this is basically "neither one is quite there yet", and the question is actually "which is more likely to become a viable energy-source for cars in the future?", which is quite different. There, many people do seem to think hydrogen cells are the horse to back—though one of them is Steven Chu, so...
  • How in the how-the-hell does Haji(mete no)Aku not have an anime yet? It's been out for over 150 chapters, so I'm guessing the manga's pretty popular. Its combination of quasi-harem antics and tokusatsu combat is practically made for anime.

    But, no. Busou Shinki has an anime, and it's a figurine line. Gokicha! Cockroach Girl has an anime (oh yes, it was a manga first, I've read it), and it's exactly what it sounds like. Chitose Get You (about a mid-20s civil servant being stalked by an 11-year-old girl) has one. Girls und Panzer (yes, that title does mean "Softenni but with tank-combat-as-a-sport instead of tennis") has one. Upotte's had more than one. But HajiAku? Nope.

    Japan, you really have to admit we've put up with some weird behavior out of you. But this? This is just bizarre.
  • I was showing my brother the opening (and only good part) of Gosick, after I happened to notice on his Facebook that our sister had said "Art Nouveau makes anything awesome". Which, I mean, ordinarily yes, but not even an animated Art Nouveau opening made Gosick not suck.

    And explaining the show to him, I realized, too damn many light novels (and therefore other media) use this "dude and eccentric girl with some odd school-life solve crimes" nonsense. Actually the only light novels I can think of that don't involve the odd school-life part are the Slayers ones—and the first few of those were magazine serials (those exist in Japan still).

    Then again, Japan is in many ways a very 1980s place (that is largely a good thing), and one of the ways this is true is that "they fight crime" is something of a fallback for their media. Actually give me the "they fight crime" without the odd school-life and we'll talk; you have an uphill battle getting me to care about a work that's artificially centered on school, the way too many light-novels (which I mainly encounter in anime or manga form) are. (In Baka Test, one of the few I've read some of the novels of, the school setting makes the whole thing work, and Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi was just that good.)
  • John C. Wright joins the ranks of those Christians who say—ut scandalum gentiles—that Buddhism lacks the concept of charity. It is particularly glaring because he specifically claims Buddhism lacks charity because it lacks the concept of creation in the Image of God. He says, plainly impressed with himself, that Buddha didn't create people in his own image.

    The reason this is really, shamefully, embarrassingly stupid is, Buddhism has a concept, called karuna (usually translated compassion), that not only precisely mirrors Christian charity in all its particulars, its Sanskrit name probably shares an etymology with "caritas". And the duties to fellow man that it imposes? They follow from the theological concept that all sentient beings possess the Buddha-nature, which not only means they, well, image the Buddha (though the Shakyamuni was not the creator-god), but ultimately means they're capable of achieving unification with the Supreme Being that, in Buddhism, is the only real thing.

    It is true that most Buddhist societies have social conditions more typical of paganism than of Christendom. But that's because Buddhism is an overly monkish religion; most Buddhists would consider it excessively worldly to try to transform the world the way Christendom did. Of course, when they didn't—e.g., in the Goryeo Kingdom that Korea is named after—Buddhism caused the precise same social changes as Christianity, like abolishing slavery and giving women civil rights. Besides which, conditions in most Buddhist countries have, for most of history, precisely mirrored those of the Byzantine half of Christendom (whose church has been similarly monkish and unworldly)—would Wright care to maintain the Greeks do not believe in Christian charity?

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