Archive for the 'humor' Category

Just when you think capitalism can’t sink any lower…

“The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”

Despite the fact that Marx first wrote about the concept of “commodification” one and a half centuries ago, it is only in the last 25 years or so that the term has come into popularity (leave it to liberals to ‘borrow’ one of Marx’s ideas 125 years after the fact and then call it their own and praise themselves for their magnificent brilliance).

But, given that new items are being commodified at alarming rates, maybe liberals can be forgiven for coming slightly late to the party.

There are countless examples of items which have become, as of late, owned and thus commodified by corporations.  Two examples include: Human and animal genomes which are now owned by corporations every time a new discovery is made; Fox News successfully countered a court case challenging their right to own the phrase “Fair and Balanced”; and the song ‘happy birthday’, to which every sung performance must be met with royalties to the song’s owners, as Girl Scouts of America learned the hard way.

There is nothing particularly new or secretive about this development.  However, when I learned of this new development in commodification, I was at a loss for words:

believe-in-god.png

Marketing a product that claims to connect one to God is nothing new.  The Catholic Church practiced something more or less similar to this for hundreds of years under their practice of the ‘buying of indulgences‘.

But actually copyrighting the phrase “Believe in God”?  Chutzpah, pure chutzpah.

Top 5 things I saw in America which, as a Canadian, freaked me right out

I’m back from my vacation down in the United States, and will return to blogging with regularity as soon as possible.

To celebrate my return to this frigid, yet comparatively sane country, I felt it worthwhile to relay a list of five items which I saw during my travels which the locals thought was perfectly normal (I presume), but which freaked the heck out of me as a Canadian.

#5

A trucking company which hauls all manner of freight throughout the deep south of the U.S. which calls itself a “Christian company” (the very idea of which seems as bizarre to me as a “Christian dog”) and which requires that its trucks to carry religious and political messages. The messages I saw included:
It’s not a choice, it’s a child
and
God loved us so that he gave his only son.

#4

A breakfast creation in upstate New York called “Stuffed French Toast”. What does “Stuffed French Toast” entail, you naïve non-American might ask? It’s French Toast (which, keep in mind is cooked in butter) stuffed with bacon, eggs and processed cheese (which they proudly call ‘American processed cheese’, I presume, to distinguish it from real cheese which could, after all, be French and/or offer unAmerican nutritional content). But here’s the kicker: on top of your “Stuffed French Toast” cooked in butter, you will find… a square of butter.

#3

A massive billboard in South Carolina just outside of Georgia which read:
“Victory is great, but honor is greater. Defend your Southern heritage.”

#2

A letter to the editor pasted proudly on a business door in Key Marathon, Florida by the business owner discussing how immigrants today are a disgrace to immigrants from the start of the 20th Century. The letter details how people need to read history because in 1901, when the business owner’s grandfather came to the country, he didn’t ask for any government handouts like modern immigrants are asking for. So modern, non-English-speaking immigrants are greedier than the immigrants from 100 years ago and thus do not recognize the value of hard work and don’t appreciate why America is great. (I’m not concocting a straw man here, this is, as best as I can recall, the structure of the argument). Apparently, nobody told the letter-writer that in 1901 NOBODY got government handouts (other than cheap land which WAS aimed at immigrants) because there weren’t significant government social programs until after World War II.
I guess the purpose of the letter was for other people to read history, not for the letter writer to read history.

#1

Casa D’ice, a restaurant located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania which features political messages as their signature claim to fame.  Among the political messages they put up under their restaurant’s name and proudly reproduced on their website include:

 outside_sign001.jpg

outside_sign007.jpg

 outside_sign009.jpg

 outside_sign019.jpg

 outside_sign011.jpg

 outside_sign047.jpg

Irony… sweet, sweet irony.

So, it turns out that Orwell, author of the futuristic dystopic novel “1984” about a government which spies on its citizens, was himself spied upon for long periods of time by his own government’s MI5 division.

Irony, thy name is politics.

A priceless message from Santa Claus [funny]

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. I have nothing more that I can add to this:

America: Just an awkward stage?

This is quite possibly the best one-liner comment on the social networking site reddit.com that I have ever read.

Short.  Precise.  Deliciously revolutionary.

“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to change the system from within, yet too early to shoot the bastards.”

That pretty much sums up my thinking on the subject, with the sole possible caveat that I’m not entirely convinced that it’s really too early to shoot the bastards.

Saskboy joins Paulitics, Jim Harris and the Green Party in the ‘dog house’?

conservative-party-support-september-to-november-2007.pngFor those of you not aware, a while back I posted mathematical evidence that Ipsos-Reid’s polling numbers are dramatically off from every other major polling firm in the country insofar as the level of support they attribute to the federal Conservative Party.

Jim Harris, the former leader (not ‘president’ as John Wright claimed him to be) of the Green Party of Canada, read my blog and enjoyed the post enough to reproduce it (with my permission, of course) with some additions of his own over on his blog.

Ipsos-Reid’s senior vice president John Wright (he seems to like it when we use his full title) didn’t particularly like what Jim and I wrote, and thus has, how shall I say, become a regular reader of Paulitics for the past few days.  Since then, however, it seems as though some additional bloggers have stumbled across Wright’s comment on this blog and have written posts on their own sites discussing what they think of Wright’s tactics.

I am not going to comment one way or another on whether I endorse Saskboy’s analysis or not.  However, in the interests of ensuring that my readers have every opportunity to critically consider and contemplate for themselves all facts as well as what they think on their own about his analysis, I have decided to link to it.

Specifically though, I wanted to draw my readers’ attention to two comments on Saskboy’s post which very much interested me.  The first was one by Wright himself wherein he wrote:

“each one of those who posted the comments have now, on their own advice, taken them down or altered them, because in the end they knew you cannot make unfounded or defamatory claims about a person or company.”

This, of course, is demonstrably untrue.  As I informed Wright when I made the changes on my blog, the changes I made, to use legal language, were made “gratuitously” and thus were accompanied by no admission of guilt nor were the changes an admission that the original text was defamatory or unfounded.  Moreover, Jim Harris explicitly spelled out, in an e-mail to Wright, that his changes to his blog post were also not an admission of guilt or an admission that the original posting was defamatory.

So, I found it interesting that Wright received explicit wording stating that changes were not made because they were defamatory, yet he still wrote that above comment on Saskboy’s blog.  Thus, I invite my readers to critically consider and contemplate for themselves whether Wright’s comment is founded in reality.

The second comment on Saskboy’s blog that I found interesting was made by an acquaintance of mine (but was not made at my behest or request).  While I have no opinion or comment one way or another on whether I endorse or share Kim’s analysis or not, I did want to present this comment to my readers for them to be free to draw conclusions on their own.

Kim wrote:

“You know, I showed Wright’s original comment to a lawyer friend of mine and she asked if he’d gotten drunk one night and went trolling on the internet. Just saying.

And Wright, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Paul at Paulitics changed his post “gratuitously” for your benefit. Just in case you’re not near your legal counsel at the moment, I’d like to refresh your memory that the legal definition of “gratuitous” is something that is done unnecessarily, without admission of guilt – so essentially, giving the baby his bottle.

The blogosphere knows you’re full of it, Jim. Instead of attacking a bunch of bloggers, I suggest that you make some inquiries into your survey-taking at the lower levels, where the mistakes are evidently being made. As a former employee, this seems entirely plausible to me. It could be the callers, or those people writing the questions themselves.

Numbers aren’t a personal attack on you – the methodology of some people in your company has been found to be lacking. Unless Ipsos-Reid has a mysterious database of Conservative supporters that nobody else has access to (you and I would both agree that this is ludicrous), Ipsos-Reid and other polling firms are contacting the same public. Why they would not get the same result is something you may want to look into, instead of making empty threats to bloggers who, despite what you may think, aren’t out to “get” you.

My point is, relax and carefully consider the facts before you comment on the blogs of others. Paul didn’t change his post because he believed what you were saying – he spoke to three or four lawyers and they said that changing the language would be the easiest way to appease you, even though he did nothing wrong. I actually know for a fact that one of his lawyers begged him to take it to the media, because nothing would be better than a story about a grown man, executive to a major polling firm, bullying a college student who crunched numbers and found his company’s polling to be inadequate, just because he can. It’s fear-mongering, John. Paul gratuitously changed his post, when he could have met your case and won, or taken you to the media and made a serious dent in your personal reputation.

And instead of attacking the evidence, be the better person and admit that there might, just might, be a problem, and look into it.”

Once again, I’m not saying I endorse Kim’s comment or not, and I certainly didn’t ask her to make it, but as a public service announcement, I felt it best to allow my readers to draw their own conclusions from it and to draw their attention to the lively (and still ongoing) debate over at Saskboy’s site.

Happy reading!

Two great cartoons from Class War Panda

I just came across a fantastic and fairly new blog called Class War Panda that’s definitely worth a look at for anybody who has even the slightest bit of a sense of humour.

Nick, the good comrade who runs the site, proves once again — if ever more proof was needed — that humour can disarm unlike any other weapon.

Here are a couple of selections from his work:

ann-coulters-beating-heart.jpg

~

neverforget.jpg

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