Frankenquotes walk among us


A frankenquote is a chimeric monster: you take two separate quotes from someone, and then you stitch them together with an ellipsis, and presto, you can make someone say all kinds of strange things. My favorite example of all time was found by John Lynch, in a fulsome review of some creationist tripe from the Discovery Institute by a theologian named Edward Oakes. It holds some kind of record.

In making his case, Oakes also states that

Darwin actually, if unwittingly, promulgated the charter for all later social Darwinists: “Let the strongest live and the weakest die… . Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows.”

Astute readers may recognize the latter part of the quote comes from the final paragraph of Origin (Chapter XIV). The earlier part comes from chapter VII (‘Instinct’). Yes, folks. Oakes has constructed a quote from two statements seven chapters apart, possibly the longest ellipsis known to scholarship.

Creationists are very fond of frankenquotes. I’ve spotted a few, including one from Luskin where the ellipsis spanned -36 pages. Sometimes they put the words together so seamlessly that they don’t even bother to include the ellipsis.

And now I learn that the MRAs have adopted the habit.

You know, you’re really in trouble when you’re cribbing your rhetorical style from dishonest creationists.

GSA concerns still simmer in Morris

The hot social issue around here has been the efforts to get a Gay Straight Alliance club established at Morris Area High School — it has been approved by the school board, but they immediately slapped up new rules to restrict the ability of that club to advertise its existence. The usual small town reaction has occurred: letters to the editor of the local paper! I’ve actually been rather happy with the response — most of the letters have a decidedly liberal bent.

Here’s one from Nancy Carpenter, of the chemistry discipline (a lot of the liberal glow, or should I say taint, is coming from the university community) which I rather liked.

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Happy Halloween!

A Red Angry Squid-Like Creature Monster Holds Up A Wooden Board In Its Tentacles With "Happy Halloween" Written In Orange On it

If you want candy, don’t come to our house tonight — we’re following the recommendations of the Teal Pumpkin Project and are handing out glowsticks, instead. Not only do we not have to worry about child allergies, but we won’t have a house full of tempting candy. It’s also cheap: glow stick bracelets are less then ten cents each, so we’ll give out a bunch.

Otherwise, we’re celebrating by staying home and maybe getting a scary movie on netflix.

P.S. Daylight savings time ends tonight, so don’t forget to set your clocks back.

It’s good to be reminded of Ronald Reagan’s legacy now and then

The Pain wrote a testimonial to Ronald Reagan when he died in 2004. It still brings a tear to my eye, and I had to think of it again as I watched Reagan’s spawn, the current festering mass of Republican presidential wanna-bes. This is what he has given us.

Even at age twelve I could tell that Jimmy Carter was an honest man trying to address complicated issues and Ronald Reagan was a brilcreemed salesman telling people what they wanted to hear. I secretly wept on the stairs the night he was elected President, because I understood that the kind of shitheads I had to listen to in the cafeteria grew up to become voters, and won. I spent the eight years he was in office living in one of those science-fiction movies where everyone is taken over by aliens—I was appalled by how stupid and mean-spirited and repulsive the world was becoming while everyone else in America seemed to agree that things were finally exactly as they should be. The Washington Press corps was so enamored of his down-to-earth charm that they never checked his facts, but if you watched his face when it was at rest, when he wasn’t performing for anyone, you could see him for what he really was—a black-eyed, slit-mouthed, lizard-faced old son-of-a-bitch. He was a bad actor, an informer for McCarthy, and a hired front man for a gang of Texas oilmen, fundamentalist dingbats, and right-wing psychotics out of Dr. Strangelove. He put a genial face on chauvanism, callousness, and greed, and made people feel good about being bigots again. He likened Central American death squads to our founding fathers and called the Taliban “freedom fighters.” His legacy includes the dismantling of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the final dirty win of Management over Labor, the outsourcing of America’s manufacturing base, the embezzlement of almost all the country’s wealth by 1% of its citizens, the scapegoating of the poor and black, the War on Drugs, the eviction of schizophrenics into the streets, AIDS, acid rain, Iran-Contra, and, let’s not forget, the corpses of two hundred forty United States Marines. He moved the center of political discourse in this country to somewhere in between Richard Nixon and Augusto Pinochet. He believed in astrology and Armageddon and didn’t know the difference between history and movies; his stories were lies and his jokes were scripted. He was the triumph of image over truth, paving the way for even more vapid spokesmodels like George W. Bush. He was, as everyone agrees, exactly what he appeared to be—nothing. He made me ashamed to be an American. If there was any justice in this world his Presidential Library would contain nothing but boys’ adventure books and bad cowboy movies, and the only things named after him would be shopping malls and Potter’s Fields. Let the earth where he is buried be seeded with salt.

I guess I’m a little older than the author: I had the privilege of voting against Reagan, twice. Sad to say that almost every word of that bitter complaint still rings true for every Republican and the media.

I feel a bit bottled up


Maybe I should run down to the store and pick up a laxative. Maybe I’ll get a bottle of this homeopathic stuff…can’t hurt. Hey, maybe I’ll pick up a case. Yvette d’Entremont recommends CVS’s homeopathic constipation relief.

The bottle, which listed 20 percent alcohol as an inactive ingredient, is sold over the counter with no age requirements. One of the NBC4 I-Team producers recorded her teen daughter buying the product without any questions asked.

“It’s really just alcohol and water,” d’Entremont said.

Yay homeopathy!

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