Corrections to the blogosphere, the consensus, and the world

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Management; see Power, above

Another underestimated factor in management theory is the asymmetrical relationship between the stuffup and the fuckup.  In politics - and that includes the politics of the company as well as the politics of government - a stuffup is my problem, a total fuckup is everybody's problem.  This means that if one realises that one has been responsible for a stuffup (a gross and unconcealable blunder with expensive consequences) and one is due for a severe reprimand then the correct strategy is to double up in the hope of creating a fuckup (a hideously embarrassing disaster with extensive ramifications) that will present your bosses with the choice of (a) publicly admitting a systemic failure or (b) defending you and denying that anything went wrong at all. Which is no choice at all and gets you off the hook neatly.  I've never had the courage myself, but I've known lots of bosses who did.

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Friday, July 23, 2004

Australia's Funniest Home Videos -Runaway winner

The death of a baby girl killed by her teenage mother's dog moments after birth was a tragedy without blame, a coroner has found.

Coroner Phil Byrne found the 14-year-old mother did not know she was pregnant before giving birth in the backyard of her Ballarat home early on May 11 last year.

The girl told police she felt the dog, Rex, grab something from between her legs as she lay on the ground suffering severe stomach pain, the Victorian Coroner's Court heard.
She said she later picked up an unidentified "wet item" and left it in a disused fridge.


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Thursday, July 08, 2004

Commonplace book link

Some more of Housman's light verse at Dr. Weevil.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2004

And another thing

Possibly the most irritating thing (a tough call, certainly) about the Da Vinci Code is its assumption that you can change one thing and have everything else be as it was.

Jesus was said to have died on the cross and risen from the dead(from quite early on, well before Constantine: "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain - 1 Cor. 15") and a religion was founded on it, and while it's flagging a little now it's had quite a good run. Brown has the idea that you can have an alternative religion waiting in the wings that's founded on a tradition of Jesus not dying on the cross or rising from anything and not in fact claiming to be god. Which is surely a non-event, either as a ripping yarn or as a theology.

If Jesus was no more than a shithot teacher, why would his descendants been revered? Why would anybody give a fuck about whether Sophie is a descendant of Jesus or not? The sons of famous rabbis and famous ayatollahs get respect only if they take up the family stall in the same business; if they go into government service they can't also claim the allegiance of the synagogue or mosque, depending. And we have lots of descendants of Mohammed and Confucius,and while it's certainly a feather in one's turban or a coral button on one's little cap it's not really something that has people adopting them as rulers without other factors intervening (such as, in the case of prominent blood-of-Mohammed and blood-of-David and blood-of-the Merovingians descendant Elizabeth II & I, being the niece of the oldest son of her grandfather).

Why would we be interested in the opinions of a pretender to the throne of Jerusalem? or even to a pretender to the conjoint crowns of Jerusalem and France, seeing that both jurisdictions have decided to go republican? Would Robespierre and Danton have come to a different decision if they'd believed that Louis was the descendant of Christ, or if there was a Merovingian candidate? Come to that, would Charles Martel have come to a different decision about kicking the Merovingians off the throne if he'd thought they were of Christ's blood (diluted, to be sure, by one hundred and eighty trillion over the course of seventy generations)? Hardly.

Taking everything that Brown says as gospel, the notable thing about the secret doctrine and the secret line is that it lost every fight at every point. Constantine ditched it, the Merovingians lost their throne to the hired help, the Templars were wiped out - from a social Darwinian point of view the secret doctrine seems a peculiarly ill-adapted meme.


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The fuck word

Christopher Hitchen's piece on 'Fuck off' as a product of the British Empire moves me to add my own favourite - "rearrange these letters into a well-known word or phrase: OFF FUCK"
And for the record I suppose I should enter on the internet the subtle distinction made in the song title of Australian band TISM "I may be a cunt, but I'm not a fucking cunt."

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Tuesday, July 06, 2004

The Disney version

Another hairball in my throat throughout The Da Vinci Code was the secret doctrine thing. I know that this is one of the tropes in the Lost Treasures genre (Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, etc)- the cult that tends the lost temple through untold aeons and murders anybody who defiles it (and I've always had a bit of a problem working out what was in it for them, too) but there at least the secret McGuffin is supposed to be hidden.

In DVC you have the situation where there are the four people who know the big secret [Cocteau could keep a secret? Excuse me! That man never had an unexpressed thought] as to where the bodies are buried and where the last will and testament of Jesus is, yes, but there are also other people who are part of the movement, people like Shakespeare and Walt Disney, but not one of the four.

Skipping over for the moment the lack of fit between the work Shakespeare and Disney produced and the worship of the eternal feminine, the question that arises is where did they get it from? Was, in other words, a text of some kind involved, or was all this handed down orally since 75 AD? Or was there a crib of some sort? Even masons can't remember their funny walks without cribs.

Did the eternal femininists have heresies? Hierarchies? Hieresiarchs? No, that's the detested male way. Then how did they manage to agree what to tell Shakespeare? To put it another way, was the repressive Catholic church suppressing greenery-yallery ideas generally or an organised (in some way) movement? As it has ritual sex ceremonies, it's presumably a movement;what does the movement believe, and how does it remember the details of its rituals? How does it choose, for example, its Priors? How have they got through two millennia without so much as a songbook in writing? And if it's in writing, or even if it isn't written but is recited like Homer or Farenheit 415, shouldn't it be the secret? If you were a christian and had the choice of saving the last existing copy of the new testament or a box of holy relics, wouldn't you choose the text?

If you were of the inner circle, no problem; you're summoned to a deathbed and told "Mary Mag is buried under the Louvre and the Merovingians are descendants of Christ, keep it a secret until you're near death and then pass it on with the same condition" - simple enough to remember. But having enough of a doctrine to be able to sell Walt on it, without telling him the big secret - that's another matter (though I suppose they might just have told him it was anti-communist).

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Friday, July 02, 2004

The freedom shtick

In his greatest speech Martin Luther King said “Let freedom ring”. With his pitch-perfect instinct for the stuffup, George Bush greeted the news of the handover in Iraq with the words “Let freedom reign”. Freedom can ring, but it can’t reign. Reigning is what monarchs like King Saud do; what democracies do is govern. The mistake may have been due to Bush’s congenital inability to remember three consecutive words correctly, but given his leanings to autocracy it might also have been a Freudian slip.

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