The Lost Art Of Self-Reliance?

3 08 2008

Today is a momentous day. Not only did he actually remember to post, but the Presidential One is finally back to doing what he does best. Telling you people what is wrong with society and why we’re all going to hell in a handbasket. The hope is that by alerting you to these things, perhaps common sense will prevail and Mr President will ascend to his rightful place as ruler of the world.

Why, in our “now now now” world, do people seem intent on the “quick fix”? Where did this current trend away from self-reliance come from? These questions arose from the discussion boards of an online game, yet their relevance is far broader than that. These are questions that go to the very heart of our society, the values for which it stands.

This game has a Wiki that acts as a manual. There’s also an FAQ. Yet, despite the fact that the links to both these resources are next to the link for the boards, questions that can be easily answered by consulting them are asked with startling regularity by almost every new player (and worse yet, sometimes even asked by experienced players).

When someone recently got annoyed by this trend, they retorted “RTFM”. The response from the new player was that they were always taught that if they didn’t know something they should ask. Mr President’s retort was that he was always taught that if he didn’t know something he should avail himself of any resources that might enlighten him.

Only when these failed should one ask for help. Is this wrong? Ignorance is not absolved by asking ignorant questions, but informed ones, wouldn’t you agree? Mr President has always used the phrases “Google it” and “Google is your friend” to suggest that if one doesn’t know something, one ought to research it themselves and be self-reliant.

Asking for help off the bat smacks of laziness and a “quick fix” attitude. There are other examples of the trend. Since HTML can be used to do some rather cool things with your gaming profile, people have asked for help. When told to use “view source” (and they do) and told what tags to search for, they complain it’s too hard. Only for someone else to come along and tell them precisely how it’s done, making you seem unhelpful.

How is that helping them? Telling them what to do doesn’t teach them anything.

(This would be a great time for one of those “Give A Man A Fish” quotes)

Have we as a society lost the art of self-reliance? Do we no longer see it as a virtue?

Politics Is Dead. Long Live “Politics”.

18 07 2008

Mr President’s local council has recently introduced a new policy which makes recycling compulsory with fines  for people who don’t. Isn’t recycling supposed to be good for us? Why, then, do we need to make it compulsory? As far as Mr President knows there’s no law making breathing compulsory, yet we all do it (except dead people but then, they can’t vote either unless you’re JFK).

Could it be, then, that despite some ludicrous horror stories about the end of the world, and how it was all down to mankind’s waste, logic has failed the eco-warriors? The ally they claimed, science, has foresaken them, so, having failed to use logic to persuade us of their case they are now going to force us to accept their point anyway?

It really should not come as too much of a surprise. The left has long since given up any hope of legitimately convincing us of their arguments because they know that they lack any merit. Instead they play the politics of personalities, using rhetoric not reason, and fortunately for them the world’s population is stupid enough to buy into it.

The final nail in the coffin of rational politics will come should Barrack Obama, as seems a likely result, become the next President of the United States. If Americans think they were mocked with Bush as a leader they haven’t seen anything yet, because Obama will keep comedy writers in work for generations. If he wins true politics dies.

Still, so long as we’re all recycling everything will be A-OK, right?

Advertising Regulators Show Bias

8 07 2008

Last Friday Mr President asked whether he was a bigot, but once he’d decided what today’s post would be about, he was certain that he isn’t. A bigot would have no issue with the hypocrisy he’s about to expose, in fact one could say it’s bigotry that causes the issue at stake. It might not be earth shattering but it is important to him and all of you should know by now what that means.

Textual Relations is founded upon the idea that if something is bothering Mr President, it’s about to bother you, mainly due to him going on about it ad nauseum until you lose the will to live and give in. So buckle up and get ready, you know the drill.

His problem is to do with adverts. It all started with ads for female sanitary products, especially when shown during a mealtime. Yes, there is no way for the TV to know when you’re eating but a lot of people tend to eat at roughly the same time of the day, so it is certainly possible to try and avoid those times. Yet, still, he kept his cool.

After all, he mused, women need these products, so it would seem a good idea to have ads for them, even if the timing could be better. The same logic was applied to ads for other “feminine” products, even when the language (eg “feminine itching”) could be a bit better, or when the pictures seem a little OTT (does a woman really need a diagram to know where a thrush treatment takes effect externally on her own body?)

Yet he draws the line at the latest adverts to do with erectile dysfunction. We don’t allow adverts for condoms (all the while we wonder why the teen pregnancy rate is rising) and yet we do when for Viagra. The ads aren’t even subtle, they show a man taking his wife in a passionate embrace, taking her up to bed while knocking stuff over.

Apparently that’s not offensive or “inappropriate” like two men kissing:

Pregnant “Man” Is Nothing Special

4 07 2008

Every so often a big news story comes along which has Mr President wondering if he is a true hardline right-wing conservative after all. This can cut both ways, sometimes it’s a story dealing with an issue he might expect to be conservative on, and finds he’s actually not. Other times he can’t help but feel so outraged by a particular issue that he’s shocked by the vitriol spewing forth.

This issue is the latter. It concerns news coverage of Thomas Beatie, the pregnant “man” who recently gave birth, in an event that’s been described as “making medical history” by some in the news media. Contrary to their assertions, though, “he” is not the world’s first pregnant man. That would require “him” to be a man in the first place.

It doesn’t matter what the law says. Medically “he’s” not a man. “His” body does not produce sperm and he lacks both a Y chromosome and a penis. Which criteria of being a “man” does “he” satisfy? We might live in different times, and Mr President may have some issues with sex changes, but surely a man has to fulfill one of those criteria?

What, otherwise, is the distinction between men and women? It can’t be purely hormonal as all women have testosterone in their bodies. Where, then, is the “marvel” in someone who has a full female reproductive system giving birth? Well, there is, but all mothers deserve recognition for the miracle of child birth. “Mr Beatie” is nothing special.

Help Mr President come to terms with this. Is this bigotry or common sense?

Disability Dolls For Down’s Darlings?

1 07 2008

When Mr President first heard about Down’s Syndrome dolls he thought it must be some sort of joke, but after doing some research he finds that they not only exist, but are remarkably popular. Why would you buy  one? Firstly, all you’re doing is highlighting that your kid is different. When a kid with Down’s has one of these and compares them with their friends’ dolls they’ll notice.

This, presumably, is the whole point for having them, but should we really be making them more sensitive to what makes them different from everyone else? Surely we should want kids with Down’s to know that it’s what’s inside that counts, that for all intents and purposes they ARE “normal”. The idea of a special doll undermines this.

Besides, the looks are hugely exaggerated, they’re like caricatures almost ridiculing the way kids with Down’s look (as if they all look the same!). They hardly promote a positive identity for kids with Down’s. Parents of kids with Down’s will tell you that that their children are uniquely beautiful, but the dolls are neither unique or beautiful.

What next? Should we have fat dolls for fat kids? Or ugly dolls for ugly kids?

Pandemic of Parental Paranoia

12 06 2008

Is Lenore Skenazy a bad mother? Is she heck; she is actually a very good parent. Mr President has repeatedly written at great length about the rise in parental outrage and the danger that we are creating a cotton wool generaton with our kids.

Far from being the worst mother in America, as she’s been branded, she’s actually a good mother. Unlike many she refuses to give in to the growing pandemic of parental paranoia in our society today. Good on her for it too.

She’s been criticised by some, not for allowing her son to make his way home by himself, but for allowing him to do so without a mobile phone. Yet when you consider that they don’t even work on the Subway, what difference would it really make? It may pose more problems than it solves.

Besides the possibility that it could be lost, possibly causing the kid to panic, or to retrace their steps trying to find it, there’s the risk of it making the child a more likely mugging target. Let’s face it, kids rarely have much money, yet a mobile phone is worth a fair bit. Not to mention that even if it was merely lost or broken that could dampen the sense of achievement in making it home alone. And what for; it can’t even be used.

The outrage over her actions seems insane even taken in isolation, yet when it’s put into the context of how our kids are being raised these days it’s even more so. We’re babying them when it comes to important issues like sexual health, literacy and road and travel safety and yet we seem quite happy to dress them up in adult clothing.

A day doesn’t go by when Mr President doesn’t see some underage girl dressed, quite frankly, like a hooker, and the worrying thing is the trend is for the kids to get younger and younger. He’s seen primary school kids (that’s under 11 years of age for our non-UK readers) wearing tops bearing words like “sexy”. Surely that’s much worse?

Who’s a bad mother, Ms Skenazy or a mother who puts stilettos on their baby?

Using A Machete For Keyhole Surgery?

15 05 2008

Dustbin Collection

With the UK government proposing a bin tax, that will add between £100 (a government figure) and £1000 a year (the media’s figure) to the taxes of anyone with non-recyclable waste (effectively meaning anyone who doesn’t recycle everything they consume will be hit), Mr President, defender of the downtrodden, asks if it’s right that we should force a lifestyle on people. Being “green” is a lifestyle, after all.

Clearly the tax isn’t to cover costs, as we already pay taxes for bin collection, and if anything it’s recycling that adds to costs (which would mean that those who recycle more would be taxed if it were cost-driven). It’s a punitive tax designed to force people to recycle. There’s an issue bigger than recycling here, and it’s an issue that affects everyone, not just UK taxpayers. Are things like this, smoking bans and forcing people to use greener cars the right way to behave in a modern democracy?

We hear liberals talking about the freedoms we’ve given up in the post 9/11 world, and how things like the Patriot Act or the erosion of civil liberties at airports are threatening true democracy, and yet they’re the very ones advocating things that arguably are even less democratic. They may argue that such measures have a “good cause” but the same can be said for anti-terrorism measures. The real question in both is not whether the goal is good but whether that goal justifies the means used to achieve it.

Bans and punitive taxes strike El Presidente as being a little Draconian and old-fashioned; they smack of “forcing people to be free”. That is certainly the sort of rhetoric used to justify things like a smoking ban or taxes on environmentally unfriendly activities; “it’s for your own good!” Surely intelligent adults in a free society can determine for themselves if something is in their own best interests?

Ultimately when deciding if the means are justified by the goals we’re seeking to achieve we have to see if the danger we’re facing is big enough. Of course those advocating such measures will talk up the huge dangers of climate change, and how polar bears are becoming extinct. Yet the truth, the case for anthropological global warming is, at best, unproven, and at worst already proven to be wrong.

Unlike the danger from terrorism, which is very real (how many 9/11s, July 7th bombings and Madrid bombings do we need to prove it?), these dangers aren’t backed up by the science. Can we really justify forcing this lifestyle on people? Even smoking hasn’t been proven to have a 1:1 correlation with cancer; it doesn’t “cause” it, merely appears to increase the risk. Whilst that’s still a danger, it’s less extreme.

Governments are increasingly using a machete when a scalpel would be better suited.