Archive for March, 2004

Mars and Venus in the Courtroom

March 31st, 2004

Chris Young is right: John Gray will rue the day he decided to fuck with Gavin Sheridan.

Let’s hope so, anyway.

(For more on this fun story, see the report of the original lawyer’s letter, commentary from Kevin Drum and from Kieran Healy, more from Gavin here (scroll down for additional links), and some remarks from Backword Dave.)

UPDATE [1.4.2004]: Backword Dave usefully supplies more links on this story than any reasonable person could read.

Obsolete Technology

March 31st, 2004

While doing research for the Normblog Bob Dylan Song Poll (if you haven’t sent your entry in already read here) I remembered that I have copies of two Dylan albums which I don’t really need anymore, since I have CD copies of the same. So the first Oxford-area VS-reader to stake their claim to LPs of Bringing It All Back Home and Blonde on Blonde can have them. Just get in touch.

In the end I went for (no particular order) “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts”, “Like A Rolling Stone”, “It Ain’t Me, Babe” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. I left the fifth permitted spot intentionally blank, as it would be a crime to pick five without having something from John Wesley Harding (= best Dylan album ever), but after playing the record three times I just couldn’t decide which song I liked most.

Going Down

March 31st, 2004

Here’s a happy image, generated by my pseudonymous colleague and international man of mystery Nasi Lemak: it’s a graph of the ten-poll moving average of W’s approval rating since he took office, and some shrewd observers reckon they can spot an underlying trend…

(Follow the link for the detailed graphs, with more legible axes, etc.)

Dead Socialist Watch, #82

March 31st, 2004

Eleanor Marx, born 16 January 1855, died 31 March 1898.

(Which reminds me that while I own a fine hardback set of Yvonne Kapp’s life of Eleanor Marx, which people tell me is magnificently good, I haven’t read it yet. I’ll take it off the shelf now and turn my attention to it when I’ve finished working through Stephen J. Stein’s [so far] excellent book about The Shaker Experience in America.)

Building Socialism in Hinksey Park

March 30th, 2004

Good news, comrades: Hinksey Park Labour has a new website…

… South West Central ward can’t be far behind… (Can’t it?)

Back from Boston (in the Springtime)

March 30th, 2004

As you’ll have noticed, a few days’ stoppage in the flow of bloggerage has just come to an end: I was off in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies, where Chris Bertram of Crooked Timber fame had laboured to put together one of the Rousseau panels, and was nice enough to ask me to join it. I’m not sure the ASECS is really my scene (though I’m not sure the APSA is really my scene, either, but I’ve been there three times now, and will probably trek to Chicago this year), but the whole thing was a very good excuse on which to hang a visit to Boston, which is still one of my favourite American cities, and to see a surprising number of old friends.

(Similarly, if I go to the ASECS next year, it’ll be a good excuse for a weekend in Las Vegas, which I’ve still never visited.)

(Foolishly, however, all three of my visits to Boston since I stopped living there have been Red Sox-free: the last two have been during Spring Training, and they were on a road trip when I was in town in 2002. I’ll have to be more careful next time.)


March 30th, 2004

VS-2d-favourite Melanie Phillips turns her attention to the history of modern political thought:

While non-Christian nations can indeed subscribe to human rights — and it is to be hoped that they do — fundamental human rights (as opposed to the politically correct doctrines being laid down by European institutions) are emphatically not secular. They are based on the precepts originally laid down by Judaism and embellished and developed by Protestantism — that individual behaviour must be constrained by moral laws, and that all human beings are equal in the image of God. Take this Judeo-Christian God away, and equality disappears too.The secular ‘human rights’ promulgated by eponymous lawyers and government ministers are actually nothing of the kind. They are instead an attempt to destroy this liberal and democratic heritage and replace it by a secular inquisition that takes self-governnment away from peoples and deprives them of the expression of their individual culture. It is deeply, profoundly, terrifyingly anti-democratic…

Next up (we can only hope), Melanie on Kant’s transcendental deduction of the categories…(Actually, that’s slightly unfair, but only slightly. There’s an interesting discussion to have about the relationship between Locke’s natural rights theory and theism, on which Jeremy Waldron’s God, Locke and Equality is quite superb. But this isn’t it, and most of the rest of what she’s written above is nonsense.)