July 27, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson on Apes

Seeing the animal rights documentary Project Nim about the famous ape Nim Chimpsky (my review here) reminded me of the penultimate chapter of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas:
So I picked up the phone. It was my friend Bruce Innes, calling from the Circus-Circus. He had located the man who wanted to sell the ape I'd been inquiring about. The price was $750. ... 
"Maybe you should come down and argue with the guy," said Bruce. "He's here in the bar with me. I told him you really wanted the ape and that you could give it a fine home. I think he'll negotiate. He's really attached to the stinking thing. It's here in the bar with us, sitting up on a goddamn stool, slobbering into a beer schooner." 
"Okay," I said. "I'll be there in ten minutes. Don't let the bastard get drunk. I want to meet him under natural conditions." 
When I got to the Circus-Circus they were loading an old man into an ambulance outside the main door. "What happened?" I asked the car-keeper. 
"I'm not sure," he said. "Somebody said he had a stroke. But I noticed the back of his head was all cut up." ... 
I found Bruce at the bar, but there was no sign of the ape. "Where is it?" I demanded. "I'm ready to write a check. I want to take the bastard back home on the plane with me. I've already reserved two first-class seats -- R. Duke and Son." 
"Take him on the plane?" 
"Hell yes," I said. "You think they'd say anything? Call attention to my son's infirmities?" 
He shrugged. "Forget it," he said. "They just took him away. He attacked an old man right here at the bar. The creep started hassling the bartender about 'allowing barefoot rabble in the place' and just about then the ape let out a shriek -- so the old guy threw a beer at him, and the ape went crazy, came out of his seat like a jack-in-the-box and took a big bite out of the old man's head ... The bartender had to call an ambulance, then the cops came and took the ape away." 
"Goddamnit," I said. "What's the bail? I want that ape." 
"Get a grip on yourself," he said. "You better stay clear of that jail. That's all they'd need to put the cuffs on you. Forget that ape. You don't need him." 
I gave it some thought, then decided he was probably right. There was no sense blowing everything for the sake of some violent ape I'd never even met.

66 comments:

Black Sea said...

"[The Circus Circus] is what the whole hep world would be doing every Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war. This was the Sixth Reich."
--H. Thompson

eh said...

Hunter S Thompson on drugs was probably more typical.

Luke Lea said...

Here in Chattanooga, there was an anthropologist at the local university (UTC) who was a good friend of ours, Lynn Miles. She was involved in a project to raise an orangutan from infancy to see how much language it could learn. Anyway, when the baby orangutan first arrived Lynn was carrying him around like a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. One day she was in the local supermarket shopping with the infant in the basket. A nice old lady approached her to coo at the baby and congratulate the new mom. She looked down, jumped back, and said, "Oh, I am so sorry!"

Anonymous said...

What Chomsky said is so obvious that I don't know why it caused a controversy in the first place. The human brain is naturally wired for lots of things, even appreciation and ability for music.

Even so... the following is a poor argument:

"Remarkably, after two years of reviewing videotape, Terrace announced that he was wrong and Chomsky right. Nim’s “sentences” (none reported in Project Nim) included:
“Me banana you banana me you give.”
“You me banana me banana you give.”
“Banana me me me eat.”

It's a poor argument because of the simple fact that chimps are far less intelligent than humans. If a retarded man had the natural-human wiring for grammar but had the IQ of a chimp, he might not be able to form real sentences either. The problem with chimps could be lack of intelligence than brain wiring.
Or it's possible that a chimp with wiring for 'chimp grammar' was given human-level intelligence, it might be better able to learn use of sentences.
The issue in this case could be intelligence than anything else.

Moshe said...

Steve, on your recommendation I actually bought the book - bought it. I don't buy books but I was at the airport and thought, "Steve praises it to the heavens, gotta be a good purchase even if I plan to toss it on arrival".

Well I tossed it long before arrival. The thing was nothing but the false boasts of the insecure. As someone who lives a life pretty close to the edge and knows the boundries of crazy living I can tell you that not one thing in twenty that he wrote was true. And the rest of it was drug-induced paranoid hallucinations written in 60s lingo.

I mention this here because I doubt you'd have dedicated the entirety of a post to a work of surreal fiction about an ape gone ape. You must not know that that the story is a fabricated lie with the sole possible kernel of truth having been that 'there was an ape used in a vegas show and that ape mauled someone'.

Anonymous said...

The best way I can describe Steve Sailer is to say that he is an "ethnic nationalist"

How on earth would a nationalism based on ethnic background be good? Seems to me that ethnic nationalism is one of the primary problems in the world over the past several decades - look at the middle east, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda... I really don't understand your point.

Anonymous said...

"You must not know that that the story is a fabricated lie with the sole possible kernel of truth having been that 'there was an ape used in a vegas show and that ape mauled someone'."

You must really think Steve is an idiot. Thompson has always admitted that Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is essentially a novel based on a few real experiences in Las Vegas.

Marlowe said...

Old Bill Burroughs (or rather his alter-ego Dr. Benway) recommended baboon assistants. I believe they respect hierarchy more.

Baloo said...

"How on earth would a nationalism based on ethnic background be good?"

How on earth could a family based on parents and their biological offspring be good?

This anonymous needs to look up "nation" in the dictionary.

Anonymous said...

What Chomsky said is so obvious that I don't know why it caused a controversy in the first place. The human brain is naturally wired for lots of things, even appreciation and ability for music.

I don't think that's at all clear. The human brain is capable of learning a wide variety of things, but that does not mean it is "wired" for them. Are the brains of Japanese people "wired" to learn Japanese, while the French are "wired" to learn French?

Are some peoples brains wired to like rap music while other people like classical or folk?

Anonymous said...

How on earth would a nationalism based on ethnic background be good? Seems to me that ethnic nationalism is one of the primary problems in the world over the past several decades - look at the middle east, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda... I really don't understand your point

Yugoslavia and Rwanda were examples of mult-ethnic states being imposed on people with no desire for them. That was the problem, not ethnic nationalism.

It takes a curious mindset to look at the breakdown of multi-ethnic states over the last several decades (the Soviet Union is the most notable example) and argue that this was a bad thing.

One of the primary problems in the world is that while most people desire ethnic nationalism, the ruling elites in all cases desire the opposite. That's why we end up with such multi-ethnic monstrosities as the EU. That's why the US, formerly a homogenous country, is being transformed against the will of the America people into just another multi-ethnic oligarchy.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of apes, though I never raised one, they seem to be a curious and out-of-control bunch. If they aren't given something to do, they'll interfere with whatever you're doing. I had a cat like this too. It had to sit on everything I was reading.

Anyway, this gives us insight as to the real reason why parents get books, toys, and other stuff for their kids. Parents say it's to educate kids and provide them with fun, but the primary reason could be to win freedom for themselves away from the kids. Babies and young children have to looked after constantly and they seek the attention of parents all the time. But a young child, if absorbed in a book, game, tv, or whatever, does his or her own thing and the parent is free to his or her own thing. It's like giving a dog a leather bone to chew on so that it will stop acting hyper.

This could be why, despite parents complaing about kids watching too much Tv, parents let kids watch cuz it calms the kids down so that parents can be free to their own thing.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that, Steve, Hunter S. always cracks me up!

Frito Pendejo said...

"How on earth would a nationalism based on ethnic background be good? Seems to me that ethnic nationalism is one of the primary problems in the world over the past several decades - look at the middle east, the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda... I really don't understand your point."

What does that have to do with apes? Are you suggesting we need to give them citizenship?

Anonymous said...

"I don't think that's at all clear. The human brain is capable of learning a wide variety of things, but that does not mean it is "wired" for them. Are the brains of Japanese people "wired" to learn Japanese, while the French are "wired" to learn French?"

You're missing the point. Though there are many languages with different vocabularies and grammar rules, when one looks at the basic structure of all languages, fundamental features exist that follow a certain logic. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc and their basic relation to one another. So, while no one is wired to speak a specific language, everyone is wired to pick up on basic grammar rules and skills regardless of the language. Of course, there are language families, and different languages have different language structures. (German and English are closer than German and Russian, for example.) But the basic underlying 'logic' is the same in all languages terms of how nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs relate to one another to form meaning: accusative forms, possessive nouns, present, past, etc. Without this fundamental and innate ability, learning language would be much more difficult.

"Are some peoples brains wired to like rap music while other people like classical or folk?"

Again, you're missing the point. The issue is not 'like' but to 'get'. Whether one likes rap or classical, one recognizes and relates to them as this thing called 'music'. Same goes for language. One may like or dislike a certain language, but language comes naturally to us.
I think young kids minds are more fluid, which is why their innate grammar can adapt to whatever language is fed to them. But as people grow older, a kind of grammar mortis sets in, whereby different kinds of language are more difficult to adapt to.

This may apply to music as well. It's easier for kids to learn music than older people, which is why parents start their kids early. At my age, it's very difficult to learn an instrument. I tried guitar but smashed the whole thing in frustration few yrs thing. Literally.

I think it may also be true of physicality. The human body is innately capable of lots of things, but our bones and muscles(and hand-eye coordination) grow more rigid as time passes. So, if you want your kids to excel at stuff like gymnastics, diving, or figure skating, it's probably better to start early. This probably matters more with skill sports than with power sports. A gymnast needs something more than strength; he or she needs a kind of 'musical' communicativeness with his or her own body. This natural ability may have to be tapped and developed early in most cases to reach high levels of excellence--though there are always exceptions.

Innate ability probably goes for dance moves too. You can see this with kids. Even kids who've never been taught to dance start moving their bodies in certain ways when you turn on some music.

Anonymous said...

"How on earth would a nationalism based on ethnic background be good?"

You're missing the point. True nationalism is not based on ethnic background but naturally grows out of it. It is the result. It's like leaves grow out of trees.

Steve Sailer said...

I was in Circus-Circus in April 1971, perhaps one of the same nights as Thompson. (I was headed toward a camping trip in Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.) Would I have noticed Thompson? Probably not. The reality is that almost nothing happens during F&LiLV -- just Thompson's hilarious paranoia about what might be about to happen.

Anonymous said...

I could swear... FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS was written by an ape. And the movie as made by a cockroach.

Chim Nimsky said...

Sailer banana race good eat nice banana Chomsky right universal grammar banana Breivik evil one Norway bastard and citizenism and and Glaswell leftist but better more Gladwell but Truth Svigor fight no know why banana eat good Luke Lea eh said Anonymous Moshe Jewish and IQ, Chua, Caplan, kids, bananas, Baloo beard hat, speaking apes of, bananas, NY Times, headache nothing learn superman wait washington dc and gay new york marriage. Lunchtime yet?

Anonymous said...

Steve is getting warmed up for writing a review of "The Rise of the Planet of the Apes" aka "The Closing the Primate Achievement Gap."

Kylie said...

"I doubt you'd have dedicated the entirety of a post to a work of surreal fiction about an ape gone ape."

I don't doubt it for a minute. Steve seems to go wherever his mental wanderings take him. I like the fact that a movie about a chimp reminded him of a chimp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

"You must not know that that the story is a fabricated lie with the sole possible kernel of truth having been that 'there was an ape used in a vegas show and that ape mauled someone'."

I'm guessing Steve did know and just didn't care. Nor do I. Thompson was a hilarious writer and though he was also an incorrigble lefty, I miss him like hell.

Anonymous said...

HST is an incredibly funny writer - if you get him. He's an "Unreliable narrator", to say the least.

Sadly, a lot of idiots take him seriously, and he started to take himself seriously in 1980s.

Truth said...

"Sailer banana race good eat nice banana Chomsky right universal grammar banana Breivik evil one Norway bastard and citizenism..."

Hahaha. That had more nuance than anything Whiskey's posted in 3 years.

Anonymous said...

I had to take a linguistic's class in the 70's and we read Chomsky. I can't remember the specifics and I dreaded the class but I remember thinking that Chomsky was pretty brilliant. His takedown of BF Skinner was clear and complete. Sailor's summary of his work doesn't due it justice.
What I have never understood is how that mind could be so f'd up when it comes to politics and totalitarian gov'ts.

Hereward said...

It reminds me of a sequence from Post Captain, one of Patrick O'Brien's Napoleonic War-set sea novels.
"'The carrier has brought you an ape.' 'What sort of an ape?' asked Stephen. 'A damned ill-conditioned sort of an ape. It had a can of ale at every pot-house on the road, and is reeling drunk. It has been offering itself to Babbington.'"

Anonymous said...

"His takedown of BF Skinner was clear and complete."

Skinner was so extreme with his behaviorism that I don't think too many people took him all that seriously.

Anonymous said...

"Skinner was so extreme with his behaviorism that I don't think too many people took him all that seriously."



A lot of people certainly did. He was the leading psychologist in the English-speaking world. The leading philosopher at the time (Quine) endorsed his views and provided some philosophical cover. Make no mistake, Chomky's work was revolutionary and he faced an uphill battle on multiple fronts. His arguments were just too good to be ignored.

At one point one of his early collaborators (I think Halle) was distraught and angry that the linguistics community was shutting them out. Chomsky told him that it didn't matter because they were convincing people who were more important than the leading linguists--their graduate students.


Incidentally, I think is why Chomsky is not very sympathetic to complaints that he ruled linguistics with an iron fist and viciously crushed any opposition to his approach. He is a ruthless intellectual foe and he certainly wielded a lot of influence in the field, but Chomsky doesn't think you need official approval to disseminate new ideas (his own mentor, Zellig Harris, never accepted his work).

Londoner said...

Off-topic: remember when Google tried to unperson Patrick Buchanan? Well, if you do a search for "is Hollywood anti-white?" you unsurprisingly get many, many more hits than you do if you search for "is Hollywood anti-semitic?" (genuine lol). But guess which of the two is suggested by the search bar's auto-complete, and which is mysteriously absent? Some questions are evidently not meant to be asked on planet Goog.

Anonymous said...

The problem with chimps could be lack of intelligence than brain wiring.


Intelligence *IS* a question of brain wiring.

-osvaldo m.

Kylie said...

"I remember thinking that Chomsky was pretty brilliant...
What I have never understood is how that mind could be so f'd up when it comes to politics and totalitarian gov'ts."


Not so surprising. Look at Wagner.

Paul said...

My personally theory is that if chimps were able to communicate complex ideas in sign language, they would have taught themselves how to sign about a million years ago.

Charlotte said...

"I had a cat like this too. It had to sit on everything I was reading"

So does my cat! So did Charles Dickens' cat.
Mine also wants to write. He's a literary beast. Whenever I pick up a pen or pencil, he's there, ready to control it with his mouth like of those paraplegics who learn how to draw greeting cards. I can't get away from him. I have to prop my checkbook up against the wall to write a check when my cat is in the same room.

So I think cats, like humans, are wired for reading and writing. They just don't have thumbs (yet.)

miya miyagi said...

One of the funniest things you can read is Thompson's piece called, "The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved."

Marlowe said...

One can identify authentic Kentucky colonels by the colour of the vomit on their shoes.

Anonymous said...

Some years ago a blackjack dealer at Circus Circus told me that in the 70's the female blackjack dealers went topless after midnight. Seems too incredible to be true; I never was able to independently verify the story.

Anonymous said...

"The problem with chimps could be lack of intelligence than brain wiring."


"Intelligence *IS* a question of brain wiring."

No, it is also the amount and quality of neurons.
Also, though intelligence is about wiring, not all wiring is about intelligence. Bird brains are wired to recognize bird sounds, dog brains are wired to make greater sense of smell and keen sounds. Different wiring allows for different ability to pick up certain patterns. It could be perceptory than rational/logical.

Anonymous said...

One question for you Steve: Do you pay for the New York Times?

It's clear that you read it more than the 20 article monthly allotment would allow.

Do you pay for it?

If you don't, you're a hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

"Skinner was so extreme with his behaviorism that I don't think too many people took him all that seriously."


"A lot of people certainly did. He was the leading psychologist in the English-speaking world. The leading philosopher at the time (Quine) endorsed his views and provided some philosophical cover. Make no mistake, Chomky's work was revolutionary and he faced an uphill battle on multiple fronts. His arguments were just too good to be ignored."

He was certainly important but a very controversial figure even at the height of his fame. He was roundly mocked and ridiculed as the 'pigeon box man'.
His radical denial of personality and absolute insistence on conditioning as the basis of behavior never sat well with many in the psychological field. Most psychologists preferred the notion of consciousness and subconsciousness. For Skinner, all that was bosh. The only thing that mattered were the external factors that conditioned our behavior.
Skinnerism was so extreme that it was bound to fall, Chomsky or no Chomsky.

Anonymous said...

Hatred of Muslims and resentment of the left — one of us has repeatedly received resentful diatribes against the “multiculturalist elite,” and was mentioned in Mr. Breivik’s own writings — is not confined to Norway.

Anonymous said...

Chimps are quite inventive. We generally think their only tools are straws for eating ants and sticks for tossing around, but there are others.

The chimp water fountain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtp5Hz6msVE

Though I must say Orangs have a more creative take on this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DBuk91phkI&feature=related

The chimp sex toy:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVE60zwXx1k&feature=related

Truth said...

" they would have taught themselves how to sign about a million years ago."

They did, just not with the symbols we wanted them to.

Udolpho.com said...

the first coming of Mark Ames

Anonymous said...

Though there are many languages with different vocabularies and grammar rules, when one looks at the basic structure of all languages, fundamental features exist that follow a certain logic. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc and their basic relation to one another. So, while no one is wired to speak a specific language, everyone is wired to pick up on basic grammar rules and skills regardless of the language.

This reminds me of the C.S. Lewis argument about how all human cultures have myths and legends, and how these can be seen to have many similarities to each other, leading to the conclusion that there is some basic underlying idea (the ur-religion) imprinted on all human minds.

It's a chicken and egg problem. If a "language" does not have nouns and verbs we don't call it "language at all. We classify something as "language" when it does have nouns, verbs, adjectives, some sort of grammar, etc.

We can't then sensibly turn around and exclaim in surprise "Hey, look, all languages have nouns, verbs, grammar, etc"!

A language which did not have some way to describe things and actions would not be a language at all. People have come up with a variety of different ways to count things, so you might as well claim that the concept of counting is hardwired into the human brain as well. The same goes for music.

We can only say that something is "wired" into the brain if it's a thing which a child deprived of any human interaction would do. For instance, a man reared from infancy by robots would still have normal human sexual desire, even if he never saw another human being. But would he come up with language "out of his own head"? Very unlikely.

Anonymous said...

"A language which did not have some way to describe things and actions would not be a language at all. People have come up with a variety of different ways to count things, so you might as well claim that the concept of counting is hardwired into the human brain as well. The same goes for music."

This is why I say Chomsky's theory should have been obvious. There are two kinds of interaction between self and the world. Sensory and making-sense. Sensory stuff is the immediate sensual awareness of stimuli. Babies, frogs, retarded people, rats, etc. can all feel it.
Making-sense, in contrast, requires an ability to make systematic order of things, the ability to recognize certain patterns and code/decode them into meaning. Here, certain rules apply. It's not just the ability to see or hear but make sense out of the jumble of stimuli.
Different animals have different means of communication and 'making sense'. Birds are naturally wired to pick up on 'meanings' of bird songs. Human minds are naturally wired to use certain 'logical rules' to communicate.

This isn't to say humans will naturally use language if left on their own. We saw from the WILD CHILD case--made into a movie--that a kid that grows up in the wild with animals will not properly develop language skills. The natural ability is there, but it has to be tapped and developed. It's like animals and hunting. Cats and dogs are natural hunters, but if they're raised at home, they might not connect hunting with food and survival. They'll chase after stuff but not have the true 'understanding' of hunting.

It's kinda odd because Chomsky the leftist came up with a biological or genetic theory of language. Skinner's theory may actually be more favorable to the Left, with its blank slate theory.
Otoh, I can see how univeral grammar can be used as a leftist argument: all people are born with the same innate ability for expression and communication, but some people's natural talents are favored and nurtured while others are neglected and excluded, and so their natural abiity doesn't fully blossom.

Anonymous said...

"Some years ago a blackjack dealer at Circus Circus told me that in the 70's the female blackjack dealers went topless after midnight. Seems too incredible to be true; I never was able to independently verify the story."

When I was in second grade, my best friend told me Goldie Hawn flashed her bare breasts on Laugh-In -- it happened to be on the night I had a Cubs Scouts meeting. If she had, I think it would be on YouTube, by now.

Anonymous said...

Actually infants HAVE been known to create their own language.

Anonymous said...

It's kinda odd because Chomsky the leftist came up with a biological or genetic theory of language.

There's no evidence that the theory is correct. It's not a falsifiable hypothesis.

Snowcrash had a lot of fun with the idea of language in the Chomskyian sense. But that's just a novel, after all.

Anonymous said...

Human minds are naturally wired to use certain 'logical rules' to communicate.

So the theory goes. It cannot be proven though.

The implication is that there exist certain other 'logical rules' which the human mind could have used, but did not because it was not 'wired' to do so. Examples being?

Kylie said...

"One question for you Steve: Do you pay for the New York Times?

It's clear that you read it more than the 20 article monthly allotment would allow."


How is that clear?

"Do you pay for it?

If you don't, you're a hypocrite."


Right. Don't attack Steve on the merits of his writing. Assume without proof that he's being dishonest and then attack him for the dishonesty you just ascribed to him.

Jonathan Silber said...

This excerpt from the writing of Hunter S. Thompson has no ring of truth to it.

I suspect many of the events he relates in his books, events on which persona rests, he wildly exaggerated in the telling, or simply made up altogether.

Steve Sailer said...

Ya think?

And here I'd always assumed that taking lots of drugs would make you a more precise observer of reality.

Well, I guess you live and learn.

Steve Sailer said...

"Do you pay for it?

$180 per year.

Anonymous said...

"Actually infants HAVE been known to create their own language."

yeah, goo goo maga goo goo.

Anonymous said...

I have a question... How come E.T. didn't tell Elliot his real name? And why didn't Elliot ask for it?
Was it because E.T. is really an ape from another planet?

PS. What is Yoda's last name?

Charlotte said...

"When I was in second grade, my best friend told me Goldie Hawn flashed her bare breasts on Laugh-In -- it happened to be on the night I had a Cubs Scouts meeting. If she had, I think it would be on YouTube, by now."

When I was in the first grade, the boy who sat behind me -- he was "an older man" of at least 7 because he failed first grade -- talked about girls whose dresses caught in escalators and left them in public with just their undies on! He was really into that story, but I think now it was urban myth. I suspect your little friend was airing just such an anecdote.

Kylie said...

"I have a question... How come E.T. didn't tell Elliot his real name?"

They had better things to talk about.

"And why didn't Elliot ask for it?"

See preceding.

"Was it because E.T. is really an ape from another planet?"

No. Apparently, you're confusing E.T. with Cheeta.

"What is Yoda's last name?"

Yoda.

Now will you please go away and let the grown-ups talk?

Svigor said...

Are some peoples brains wired to like rap music while other people like classical or folk?

Is that a trick question?

Svigor said...

PS. What is Yoda's last name?

Yoda. His first name is Master.

ape ricot said...

The more I learn about apes, the less I like them, but the more I learn.
I now understand why and how Jane Goodall could live among chimps for decades, study them closely, and yet not get her face torn off. She was highly intelligent, knew they were chimps, not humans, and proceeded accordingly.
Sadly Diane Fossey didn't get the message, although it was not the gorillas who did her in.

Anonymous said...

"The more I learn about apes, the less I like them, but the more I learn."

It's not a matter of liking or disliking. Most animals are not 'likable' close up. But they are fascinating creatures and should be respected for what they are, especially since so many are facing extinction. I'll pandas aren't all that likable close up either, but how nice they're still around.

Kylie said...

"It's not a matter of liking or disliking. Most animals are not 'likable' close up. But they are fascinating creatures and should be respected for what they are, especially since so many are facing extinction."

Agreed. They should be respected for what they are. And part of that respect is leaving them in their natural environment, which is, by definition, the one to which they are naturally best suited.

There's a larger lesson here but I won't be the one to point out the chimp in the living room.

TomV said...

$180 per year.

I wish I could say I'm paying that much for your content, Steve.

Truth said...

But Tom, you can.

Anonymous said...

Is E.T. a joke on T.S. Eliot?

The kid's name is Elliott and E.T. is kinda like T.S.

Canuck Terrorist said...

Is E.T. a joke on T.S. Eliot?

The kid's name is Elliott and E.T. is kinda like T.S.

I always thought E.T. was a joke on Pierre Elliot Trudeau, P.E.T.

Anonymous said...

@Baloo & Anonymous below him, regarding ethnic nationalism, EX-Yugoslavia, Rwanda etc.

Being from Bosnia and having tasted the joys of ethnic nationalism for breakfast each day since the '80s I'd like to point out that your observations on the topic are utter nonsense.

Comparing ethnic nationalism with family is as ridiculous as comparing a tribal village with a modern democracy.
It is so far removed from the subject, you might as well equate ethnic nationalism with bananas, carburetors or pajamas.

As for
"Yugoslavia and Rwanda were examples of mult-ethnic states being imposed on people with no desire for them. That was the problem, not ethnic nationalism."

Sorry, but THAT is simply bullshit.

Rwanda is the case of Belgians coming in and making up racial theories on the spot to divide locals into two easily manageable categories.
Once divided, you can always set one group against the other, while you plunder the land.
Later, left alone with animosity towards the "other kind" bred-in, they will continue the conflict for centuries to come.

Ethnic nationalism in Yugoslavian republics on the other hand was simply a political tool used by the political elite to seize the power.
Give the people its "racial enemy", have them rally behind your flag and get yourself your own little kingdom.

Easiest thing to do, particularly if all sides have their own diaspora that harnesses the myth of their own particular brand of heroes from the "last war" - i.e. war criminals and Nazi collaborators who escaped to foreign countries.
Every single one of them holding a grudge against the "evil communist state" that stood in the way of their "ethnically pure dream state".

So, ethnic nationalism being basically the same thing as racism on account that it revolves around EXCLUSION of "them" from "us", instead of the way that the theoretical "Vanilla-nationalism" should create a single "nation of us" - "them" are first and foremost represented as "the enemy".

The enemy who hates everything that you stand for, and who will come in the night and slit your family's throats while you're sleeping.
So, you MUST go to WAR against it.
With words, with priests, with guns.
With concentration camps, organized rape, mass executions.


Have that philosophy and military power concentrated on one side and you have your Nazi Germany and its Jews.
Have philosophy and military on both sides, and you have your Balkans or Rwanda.

Ethnic nationalism is just Nazism by other name.
It always ends with ethnic and religious persecution, concentration camps, war and genocide.
It has to.
It's designed for it.
Because it revolves around the idea of "them" and "us".

On a side note...
Take a look at Bosnia, formerly a "Yugoslavia within Yugoslavia" with its mix of cultures, ethnicity, heritage etc. - now a land so divided along ethnically established lines that it has 3 presidents. Plus an additional one in the Republic of Srpska entity.
One Serb, one Croat and one Bosniak.
Which means orthodox christian Serb, one catholic christian Croat and one muslim Bosniak.

First division is so stated in the constitution.
Second is implied.

Jews, Gypsies, Hungarians, Martians and other minorities CAN NOT BE PRESIDENTS.
Just like under Hitler.
Cause they were not planed or listed in the constitution.

THAT'S ETHNIC NATIONALISM FOR YOU RIGHT THERE.