Winter Solstice Reflections

On this first of yuletide, and the first of Nivôse, I give you a plagiarized thought on happiness, from Orwell, to carry you from the end of this year into the next:

“[Charles] Dickens can describe a poverty-stricken family tucking into a roast goose, and can make them appear happy; on the other hand, the inhabitants of perfect universes seem to have no spontaneous gaiety and are usually somewhat repulsive into the bargain. But clearly we are not aiming at the kind of world Dickens described, nor, probably, at any world he was capable of imagining…What are we aiming at, if not a society in which ‘charity’ would be unnecessary? We want a world where Scrooge, with his dividends, and Tiny Tim, with his tuberculous leg, would both be unthinkable. But does that mean we are aiming at some painless, effortless Utopia?… Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles, or get themselves killed in civil wars, or tortured in the secret prisons of the Gestapo, not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another. And they want that world as a first step…where they go from there is not so certain, and the attempt to foresee it in detail merely confuses the issue.”

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“[Sport] has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with the disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence. In other words, it is war minus the shooting.”

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Remember that, and Carl Schmitt, if you feel as though sports should or could be “apolitical”. Whether you support or boycott Nike, or willfully ignore the whole issue, you are taking a political stance. Sports don’t become political, they’ve always been political. Any change felt to the contrary is you being upset because the shell that encloses your understanding is breaking.

North is North, and South is South, and never the twain shall meet

 

Kipling would be surprised by good signs emerging from the Korean peninsula. Seeing such a backtrack from ideas of confrontation and braggadocio may mean that, perhaps, policies of sunshine can win out after all. That has precedence, and things look favorably towards that approach as big players get on board.

Unfortunately, there’s also a history of such agreements breaking down.

Worst case scenario, let’s make sure no tertius gaudens occurs:

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Transformers 3; or, What’s Wrong With Sexual Harassment Training

They have more in common than you’d think. The obvious answer is that they both have an obnoxiously long duration that wasted hours of my life, are devoid of any meaningful substance, pander to the the worst cliches imaginable, and are insulting to our common sense. But the obvious is not always the full story.
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A Rubbish Solution to Refuse

“One billion people [in the third world] have no access to toilets so they defecate out in the open. Three billion more have toilets, but their waste is dumped untreated, seeping into water and food supplies. About 800,000 children under age 5 die each year from diarrhea, pneumonia, and other common infections caused by unsafe water and sanitation.” – Bill Gates

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