Saturday, May 23, 2015

Possibly the Best Coat of Arms in the World

I would like to nominate as the best coat of arms in the world : Hensbroek

Hensbroek is a village in North Holland, Netherlands. "Hens" is dutch for chicken and "broek" is dutch for pants so obviously the coat of arms is a picture of a hen in pants.

from wiki (where they seem less sure as to what chickens look like.)

Hensbroek means hen's pants so why not draw a hen wearing pants?  Actually, it turns out that it's origins are "It was founded as "Heynsbroec", meaning the marshy wetland of Heyn"

An explanation in Dutch is here. I think it means that it was a swampy, marshy land where a person would not want to wear long trousers but instead wear pants (in the British sense or short pants). So, meaning "land-where-you-need-to-wear-short-pants of Hen" Presumably, the coat of arms was drawn without the historical memory of the original meaning.


To the people of the village of De Hulk in the Netherlands I offer a coat of arms of their own. I hope they won't be too modest and start calling themselves incredible.

Incredible Hulk coat of arms of De Hulk, North Holland,  Netherlands
De Hulk, Netherlands Coat of Arms

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Search suggestion fail

All I did was innocently search wikipedia for the admittedly obscure Dutch painter Barend Dircksz and look at what wiki thought I meant. No thanks.

Search for Barend Dircksz and wiki's suggestion fail : Banned Dicks

There is a tiny entry on the Dutch Wikipedia. For Barend Dircksz I mean.

Monday, May 18, 2015

How Orwellian : racism isn't racist

Bahar Mustafa is a student union diversity officer at Goldsmiths University in the UK who was trying to organize a racially segregated event but asserts that she can't be racist or sexist because she is an ethnic minority woman.

According to reports at the time, Ms Mustafa posted a message on Facebook which read: "Hey, I made as many of you hosts so please invite loads of BME Women and non-binary people!! 
"Also, if you've been invited and you're a man and/or white PLEASE DON’T COME just cos I invited a bunch of people and hope you will be responsible enough to respect this is a BME Women and non-binary event only."
Ms Mustafa added: "Don't worry lads we will give you and allies things to do", followed by  a winky face emoji.
In a video recently uploaded on local news website however, Ms Mustafa has described the backlash as "an outrageous distortion of fact".
In the seven-minute video, Ms Mustafa also refuted any accusation of racism and sexism', claiming "reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real".
In a presentation made in front of fellow students, Ms Mustafa said: "Furthermore, there have been charges made against me that I am racist and sexist to white men.

"I want to explain why this is false. I, an ethnic minority woman, cannot be racist or sexist towards white men, because racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender.
"And therefore women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system.
"In order for our actions to be deemed racist or sexist, the current system would have to be one that enables only people of colour and women to benefit economically and socially on such a large scale and to the systematic exclusion of white people and men, who for the past 400 years would have to have been subjected to block colonisation.

"We do not live in such a system, we do not know of such a history, reverse racism and reverse sexism are not real."

First, this fails in reciprocity. Treat others how you want to be treated.

"Hey let's round up people based on their race and put them in a death camp!" should be considered racist who ever says it. Some people prefer chauvinism and think their racial hatred should be acceptable.

This definition enables racism against minorities.  "Hey, [ethnic slur], get in the back of the bus!" should be considered racist if uttered by an African to a Korean or vice versa. Her definition would mean that neither is racist.

If benefiting is the essential requirement of racism then wouldn't that mean a hotel owner who refuses to serve black customers is damaging his own business by turning away customers and is not benefiting from the discrimination.

It seems to me sadism is worse than someone benefiting. It is disturbing that treating another person badly isn't seen as poor behavior in and of itself.

Her notion that 400 years of discrimination until a minority could be considered racist is an appalling support of transgenerational race-based punishment. Fortunately, few people support punishing children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren for the deeds of their ancestors. Strangely, she doesn't seem to consider that transgenerational could be used against her.

400 years would suggest (about 25 years per generation) that she approves of punishing the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren not for any abuse dished out by the 16th generation grandparent –the individual's actions are irrelevant – but for the misdeeds of people who share the same race as the 16th generation grandparent.

I can't help but think of the similarity to the Curse of Ham being used as a justification of the slavery of the supposed descendants of Ham.

Some people aren't opposed to people suffering but just want to put the yoke of suffering around the neck of someone else.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The War on Metaphor

A tweet from Richard Horton (‏@richardhorton1) who is the editor in chief of the UK medical journal the Lancet and totalitarian crankypants :
The NRA's use of the "war" metaphor is an illegal incitement to violence and should be prosecuted.…
 [link to a BBC story about an NRA official saying "This is not a battle about gun rights,'' Mr Porter told attendees on Friday, saying it was "a culture war".]

Classic war on metaphor… Oops, did I say war? He is campaigning against … oops a campaign is a war metaphor too. He's targeting …ah, no.  He's going to the barricades to … nevermind. 

He even recognizes and identifies it as a metaphor! Unlike some people who don't understand (or pretend not to understand) that a metaphor is not literal, he identifies that a figure of speech is being used but unfortunately that makes him sound like even more of a book burning totalitarian.

First metaphors are jailable, then similes, then allegories, then onomatopoeia and then, well, he'll just make up a reason after you're in jail.

Speaking of war, guess who wrote a book called Health Wars? The very same Richard Horton.