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What You Can't Say.
January 4, 2004 8:51 PM   Subscribe

What You Can't Say.
posted by weston (51 comments total)

 
Uh, What I can't say is that I read the whole article, but looks interesting so I bookmarked it for later. Thanks, Weston.....
posted by Pressed Rat at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2004


shhhh....
posted by shagoth at 9:41 PM on January 4, 2004


Huh. Well, just the other day, I was pondering how it seems that Americans of color seem to have this terrible time seeing themselves as racist in their behaviors and attitudes toward white Americans.
posted by alumshubby at 9:52 PM on January 4, 2004


Endnote five pretty much captures the entire thrust of the article:

It may seem from this that I am some kind of moral relativist. Far from it. I think that "judgemental" is one of the labels that gets used in our time to prevent discussion of ideas, and that our attempts to be "non-judgemental" will seem to future eras one of the most comical things about us.

posted by alumshubby at 9:59 PM on January 4, 2004


And I just watched Oliver Stone's Talk Radio this afternoon.
posted by four panels at 10:10 PM on January 4, 2004


Wow. Another empassioned plea to tell us to think for ourselves. How enlightening.
posted by Veritron at 10:16 PM on January 4, 2004


Good post.
posted by Keyser Soze at 10:27 PM on January 4, 2004


Yeah, essays like this are the catch-22 of rhetoric. Nobody believes they are close-minded. At some point in their intellectual development (early teens?) you either do or do not reach a point where you begin to analyze your most deeply held beliefs and try to establish their actual worth. Few people can be goaded into it. Anyways, heres a joke:


In one of Plato's dialogues, after Socrates criticizes the sophist Protagoras for taking money from his students and not teaching them anything of real value, Protagoras responds:"At the end of my course, if the student feels that he has not learned anthing of value, then I give him his money back"

At the end of the course a student takes up Protagoras on his offer. Protagoras says "Can you give me a good argument why I should give you your money back?" The student gives an excellent argument. Protagoras responds "You see the dialectical skill I have taught you!"

A second student also demands their money back. Again Protagoras asks him "Can you give me a good argument why I should give you your money back?" The student responds "No." Protagoras then says, "All right, here's your money back."

(from Smullyan's Scheherezade)
posted by vacapinta at 10:34 PM on January 4, 2004


This quote made me laugh:

The problem is, there are so many things you can't say. If you said them all you'd have no time left for your real work. You'd have to turn into Noam Chomsky.

... though endnote 15 sorta kills the joke.
posted by bobo123 at 10:44 PM on January 4, 2004


People who like orange are tolerated but viewed with suspicion.

this is already happening people!
posted by birdherder at 10:56 PM on January 4, 2004


I liked it. We need it now. Thanks.
posted by squirrel at 11:36 PM on January 4, 2004


Nice.
posted by spazzm at 1:42 AM on January 5, 2004


"Yes! We are all individuals!"
posted by salmacis at 3:06 AM on January 5, 2004


Should be required reading for teenagers showing intelligence. Might save them some grief, and boost their sense of worth.

I'm one of those folks who sets his own standards and rules. Caused me lots of trouble in my younger days!

Fashion? Its a trap! Sex? Its not just for breakfast anymore.
posted by Goofyy at 3:12 AM on January 5, 2004


This whole essay is so vague -- an example of something one can't say would've been nice. Did he really spend that much time arguing free though and expression are really important?

Endnote 15 is actually very telling. "If you actually said the things you can't say, you'd shock conservatives and liberals about equally-- just as, if you went back to Victorian England in a time machine, your ideas would shock Whigs and Tories about equally." Surely this implies he has an example of one of these "forbidden thoughts". Perhaps he should just say what's on his mind.
posted by raaka at 4:04 AM on January 5, 2004


i think you're driven to write stuff like this when you're unhappy with how things are (in my own life i've been much more politically aware when i've been unhappy). as other's have said, note 15 shows pretty much what makes paul graham unhappy. that and the fact that no-one thinks lisp is cool any more :o)

oh, and it looks like there's an embarassing book in the works too. why do programmer/geeks persist in trying to contribute to the arts? serious question (since it applies to me too, i think). my best guess is that you see a lot of non-science work that's quite clearly crap and think that means you can much better. when you're a good scientist/engineer, fairly high up the heap (and graham was very near the top in his day), you forget all the crap below you. you forget all the bad science, looking out from your vantage point, and instead of looking at the pile below you, you look at the pile across the way...

so your viewpoint is biased. you see "all" of the arts, and wonder why there's so much bad stuff (answer: because your comparison is only with your peers and superiors in the sciences). then it's easy to decide you can do better.
posted by andrew cooke at 4:25 AM on January 5, 2004


MetaFilter is a good example of why this example starts out talking rubbish. Most of the people here don't seem to be very reluctant to express their opinions and most of the people I associate with are the same.

His close-mindedness is often to the fore, never more so than with "It could be that the scientists are simply smarter; most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics." - speaking as a physics graduate, what complete bollocks. Scientists are taught to accept the status quo and to work around the edges - modern science is such that questioning of core beliefs would make scientific enquiry virtually impossible.

It's always been my experience that people who think the "unthinkable" and only discuss it in small groups of like minded individuals are those with the least open minds and the strongest bigotry - a strange policy to adopt.

What heap is it that Paul Graham was near the top of - technical authors ?
posted by daveg at 6:14 AM on January 5, 2004


What heap is it that Paul Graham was near the top of - technical authors ?

he wrote an excellent book on lisp macros. it's an all-time classic. i believe he was also a guiding light in lisp development (esp common lisp). he also made a lot of money by writing the software that used to run some big internet portal (yahoo?) (in lisp - he practiced what he preached and pretty much cleaned up the opposition). i would guess there's a curriculum on his site if you really cared to find out.

on the negative side, he comes across as arrogant in computing discussions (there's a lisp-weenie culture that dimisses everything else and he's the leading light) and seems to be stuck somewhat in the past (he's supposed to be developing some new language that, to my uneducated eye at least, looks like lisp + a few cosmetic changes).

personally, i don't like what i hear of him, or agree with him, but i respect what he's achieved. and i don't think that demeaning his work (ie the good stuff in computing) is a useful way of countering what he says.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:32 AM on January 5, 2004


and his page doesn't resize my frickin browser window. sheesh.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:34 AM on January 5, 2004


If you believe everything you're supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn't also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s-- or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.

Good paragraph. It nicely sums up why I never trust anyone who commits themselves entirely to an "ism" of any kind, or who spends too much worry fitting in anywhere. Sad part is whenever people "of like mind" who feel left out of the mainstream decide to band together they almost invariably become just as conformist. I remeber reading about Jello Biafra, raised in the hippie burg of Boulder, a town full of citizens who considered themselves counterculturalists and "open minded", who nevertheless felt like an outcast. He reffered to them as "zen fascists" I recall.

People who like orange are tolerated but viewed with suspicion.

This made me think of my freind Letty in Miami who came into work one day wearing open toed shoes and blaze orange polish on her toenails. I asked if she was going deer hunting.
posted by jonmc at 6:55 AM on January 5, 2004


He's absolutely correct. It always amuses me that people think we live in a society in which "every viewpoint is tolerated." Here are certain viewpoints of mine which I might discuss with a friend, but certainly not an employer; when I've mentioned these (usually obliquely, and in passing) on MetaFilter I've been lambasted. You will almost certainly disagree with these ideas; the expression of some of them has been used as evidence of my psychiatric unfitness in the past.

1. Laws based on age, including the voting age, the age of consent, the age to own property and sign binding contracts, the drinking age, the driving age, and the minimum age of employment, are unethical in precisely the same way as discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

2. Suicide is an entirely legitimate and moral action deserving of respect.

3. Taxation is theft in the same sense that mugging is theft.

These are only a few. There are more. Am I right about every one of my heretical ideas? Almost certainly not; but they are not so self-evidently false as to be worthy of the instant dismissal (when I'm lucky) and moral condemnation (when I'm not) with which they are inevitably met.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 7:32 AM on January 5, 2004


But, Ishmael, your ideas fail Graham's test completely!

... any idea that's considered harmless in a significant percentage of times and places, and yet is taboo in ours, is a good candidate for something we're mistaken about.

The rights of children have ever and everywhere been limited; suicide has generally been frowned on, and taxation has been common. You really are a heretic! Suck it up!
posted by nicwolff at 7:44 AM on January 5, 2004


Since I think you're looking for a reaction, IG, and I'm in just that mood...

"1. Laws based on age [...] are unethical in precisely the same way as discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc."

True, but until we can test for a person's ability to comprehend and appreciate the concept of "responsibility", age is a reasonable alternative. We base age discrimination on the supposition that people of a certain age have a high enough understanding of their responsibility regarding certain actions (drinking, voting, etc) to allow them that right/privilege. Sure, there are many young, responsible people and old, irresponsible people, but it works for the majority.

"2. Suicide is an entirely legitimate and moral action deserving of respect."

Legitimate, sure. Moral? That's a questionable assertion. Deserving of respect? What the hell does respect have to do with it? I respect achievements. Everybody dies. Achieving something inevitable is not difficult. Avoiding death, now that I can respect.

"3. Taxation is theft in the same sense that mugging is theft."

Childish folderol. You need to reexamine this belief to truly see where it logically gets you. Do you really want a user-pay fire service, for instance?

But really, I fail to see where any one of these ideas is all that heretical. Try suggesting that any two consenting adults should be allowed to marry (direct relatives included). Even if either (or both) are currently married to someone else. You're pretty safe in your concepts compared to that.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:50 AM on January 5, 2004


wow, IshmaelGraves, we should talk sometime. i agree with all three points and feel similarly about my comfort level (ie, not too high, especially in a formal environment) in discussing them. this must be the banding together jonmc is wary about. :)
posted by ifjuly at 9:13 AM on January 5, 2004


one obvious danger of an attitude like that in the essay is that people may start to believe that when they don't agree with current standards then those thoughts are necessarily correct, interesting, and important...

it's pretty damn easy to be different, wrong and mediocre.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:06 AM on January 5, 2004


This whole essay is so vague -- an example of something one can't say would've been nice.

This reaction (which I found myself sharing initially while reading the essay) I think demonstrates why this essay is vastly better than it might have been. It says a lot more about us, that we are accustomed to being spoon fed easy "answers" that we can either nod in agreement with or dismiss as foolish and perhaps even heretical. The author is trying to suggest ways of thinking, which takes more effort on our part to parse and assimilate or reject, so to cite specific examples would reduce his argument to a series of easily dismissed specifics, which would work against what he was trying to do.
posted by rushmc at 10:10 AM on January 5, 2004


Wow. Another empassioned plea to tell us to think for ourselves. How enlightening.

I think it is a message which can't wear out from constant usage: "Think for yourself. Here's how." Very useful to have it put so clearly.
posted by Mo Nickels at 10:39 AM on January 5, 2004


The rights of children have ever and everywhere been limited; suicide has generally been frowned on, and taxation has been common. You really are a heretic! Suck it up!

Debatable; true, the rights of children have always been limited, but the definition of "child" in modern culture is much broader than it's been in many other places (i.e., ages of adulthood have often been lower). The Western suicide taboo originated with the early Christian church, and so while widespread is hardly universal. Not sure that taxation has been as ubiquitous as you think. And, at any rate, I disagree with Paul Graham's litmus test here; slavery and the treatment of women as chattel, for example, have for most of human history been the norm as well.

Since I think you're looking for a reaction, IG, and I'm in just that mood...

Sigh. In fact I'm not, and I don't particularly care to discuss the validity of these beliefs here because (a) I don't think any minds will change and (b) it's completely off-topic in this thread. Feel free to e-mail me if you really want to debate these issues.

andrew cook, I agree, and I'm not claiming that the fact that my beliefs are not widely shared is somehow an argument to their benefit. My point was simply to counter the common idea that ours is a culture with no ideological taboos, in which every point of view is tolerated as part of the public discourse.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 11:08 AM on January 5, 2004


(fwiw i agree with myself, and think it applies to me too. it's just one more thing to make life harder :o)
posted by andrew cooke at 11:22 AM on January 5, 2004


"It could be that the scientists are simply smarter; most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics."

This bit closed my mind really quick. What disrespectful horseshit.

His general point is a good one but I find it very telling that he didn't have the guts to identify some of our moral fashions. If he's got the inside track on recognizing our conformism and groupthink then he surely can point to some examples. The closest he gets is saying that labels that end in -ist are bad, but he conveniently fails to note that such terms are important ways to criticize the status quo and break out of conformist modes of thought. Anyone care to argue that racism and sexism don't exist or shouldn't be questioned?
posted by norm at 11:47 AM on January 5, 2004


Well, sure rush. The problem is think for yourself, subvert the dominant paradigm! isn't a terribly original sentiment. There's nothing compelling enough here to refer to this over, say, Mencken or Paine.

(I had something closer to what norm is saying, but disrespectful horseshit summarizes my thoughts well enough.)
posted by raaka at 12:33 PM on January 5, 2004


My guess is that these unspeakable things he tantalizes the reader with and never winds up explicitly mentioning are the usual "non-PC" ideas (blacks/women/gays aren't really discriminated against anymore and/or are making too much trouble, most people are stupid and shouldn't be allowed to vote, the West really is the vanguard of civilization and "primitive savages" really are primitive savages, &c &c); he doesn't mention them not because he's trying to make us think for ourselves but because he doesn't want to deal with the backlash -- he'd rather get credit for his daring thinking without having to provide daring examples. One nice thing about MeFi is that people with daring ideas actually spell them out and deal with the heated discussion that ensues.

I could, of course, be entirely wrong about his daring ideas, but I've seen these guys before, and that's my guess.
posted by languagehat at 1:43 PM on January 5, 2004


languagehat, you are on the money. This guy is just bloviating for garlands. For another point of view on all this open-mindedness, however, you may want to consult the Louvin Brothers, who will tell you "That Word Broadminded is Spelled S-I-N.
posted by Faze at 1:56 PM on January 5, 2004


I agree with languagehat.
posted by vacapinta at 2:11 PM on January 5, 2004


I could, of course, be entirely wrong about his daring ideas

I still contend that you're missing his point. It doesn't matter whether you agree with or even know his "daring ideas;" what he seems to be advocating is that you should generate some of your own, while trying to give some pointers on how one might go about doing so. If he listed his transgressive notions, as so many here wanted him to do, then he would inevitably be drawn into debates defending them. Which is irrelevant to and distracts from his thesis.

Of course most people are going to feel like this is trite and unnecessary advice, since THEY already make a habit of doing this. Kind of like everyone thinking they have an open mind, as he notes. But an objective glance at the world is enough to convince most that the majority of people don't habitually think in this way.
posted by rushmc at 2:25 PM on January 5, 2004


His general point is a good one but I find it very telling that he didn't have the guts to identify some of our moral fashions. If he's got the inside track on recognizing our conformism and groupthink then he surely can point to some examples.

"If I said this kind of thing, it would be like someone doing a cannonball into a swimming pool. Immediately, the essay would be about that, and not about the more general and ultimately more important point."

Seems fairly straightforward to me. But then, I read the whole thing.
posted by majcher at 5:00 PM on January 5, 2004


One thing that's interesting to me is that he didn't take an specific pot shots, but he's been attacked in this thread on mere speculation of what they were. And by people whose posts I generally respect and find thoughtful, no less.

It isn't a perfect essay. He is saying some things that have been said before. He might be wrong about some things. And I think the problem andrew cooke pointed out is probably significant.

But languagehat (and others), you should know better than to make the assumption. Yes, there are the Rush Limbaugh's of the world who try to defend themselves for remarks made as a "color commentator" for the NFL. I don't see any real indication that Graham is one of them. You may have "seen these guys before, " but you may not have noticed how Graham in his essay seems to have your response pegged.
posted by weston at 5:42 PM on January 5, 2004


I might also add that some of the negative responses here remind me a lot of negative responses to Krugman's Advice on Election Coverage. Krugman's statements could be simply boiled down to "cover policy issues", and some people did, and issued a collective duh. But Krugman's article was more useful than that. He climbed down the ladder of abstraction a rung or two and elucidated on some specific traps and problems. Anyone who did the same would have probably come up with most of his points independently, but that didn't make reading the article not worthwhile, because there were lots of people who may not have made that journey on their own, or not yet, or they wouldn't have seen one or two things Krugman did, or wouldn't have been able to articulate them as well. Some would have been able to do all that, of course, and those people should one-up Krugman by writing a better column.

Similarly, I'm sure there are some MeFiMindsTM who really could outshine Graham's analysis and rhetorical treatment of his subject. But boiling him down to just another bigot with his own set of prejudices, or issuing a collective duh to the simplest statement of his thesis doesn't seem like a correct or useful response.
posted by weston at 6:02 PM on January 5, 2004


The problem is that without examples, Graham provides absolutely no expression of how an analysis of our current society versus those of other cultures can be used to discover universal truths. What sort of differences are we talking about? Cultural, ethical, technological, sociological, styles of dress and make-up?

The closest he comes is this:
But any idea that's considered harmless in a significant percentage of times and places, and yet is taboo in ours, is a good candidate for something we're mistaken about.

I can think of many things that fit that prescription but most of them fall under the notion of "progress". I'll give a few examples of things that are taboo for us but harmless throughout most of history:
- Resolving disputes through vigilantism
- Subjugating minorites
- Killing captives
- Having sex with under-age women
- Killing defective children
etc. etc.

I am sure there are examples of things that are taboo for us that shouldnt be (I'll add one I am in favor of revoking: swimming nude at beaches) but the larger point is that without further prescription, the essay applies equally to how the minds of great thinkers work and also the minds of misanthropic cranks.
posted by vacapinta at 6:20 PM on January 5, 2004


This is crap thinking. I gave up and closed the document when I ran into this fallacy:

Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?

When then proceeds to assume that the reader is either a closet conformist or a coincidental conformist. That a nonconformist would probably give two shits what his peers think of his opinions is never entertained. He sets up a closed system of thought that fails to cover the most likely and easily predicted situation. I'm not much of an expert in rhetoric or philosophy, but even I know better than to try to pull a scam like that.
posted by majick at 7:36 PM on January 5, 2004


His answer to that, majick: ...considering how very hard it is to disentangle yourself from the thinking of your time, someone who comforts himself with this thought is almost certain to be mistaken. It's not enough to be an ornery cuss. You have to be Voltaire, and then some.
posted by rushmc at 9:55 PM on January 5, 2004


"Yes! We are all individuals!"

I'm not.
posted by Vidiot at 11:06 PM on January 5, 2004


Ahh, he responds
posted by Mossy at 1:54 AM on January 6, 2004


All right, let me be more explicit about why he's full of shit. I take as the theme for my sermon vacapinta's succinct
the essay applies equally to how the minds of great thinkers work and also the minds of misanthropic cranks.
Exactly. And the insurmountable problem here is that for every genuine idea-of-the-future that "can't be expressed now" but will come to be considered correct, there are millions and millions of ideas that are not only "shocking" but genuinely stupid and/or evil and will continue to be considered so, and we have no way of telling which is which. So he's telling us to be on the alert for a needle in a huge haystack... a needle that looks exactly like a piece of hay. Brilliant advice.

If you get rid of the over-the-top rhetoric and hints of unspeakable truth, of course, what he's saying boils down to "think outside the box." But if he just said that, we wouldn't be discussing him on MeFi, now would we? He's a 21st-century pseudo-philosophical carny barker, standing on a box and hinting at things we can't even imagine—all you have to do is step behind the curtain, ladies and gentlemen!

Another thing to note is that of his examples of things unspeakable in 1830—premarital sex, homosexuality, and denying the literal truth of the Bible—at least two were quite speakable then and were frequently discussed (I don't know about homosexuality). The blessed Tom Paine, one of my personal heroes, had torn the Bible to shreds a generation before; as for premarital sex, aside from the fact that it's been practiced since time immemorial, it was very much a subject for debate at that time. Already in 1818 Charles Fourier was saying things that would shock a lot of people now:
Fourier worked out how the most varied erotic passions could be satisfied while at the same time enhancing social integration. A first prerequisite for the birth of the new amorous world was, according to Fourier, acceptance of the fact that sexual needs differed enormously. In Fourier's utopia, all sexual expression would be permitted so long as people were not abused. But he excluded children up to the age of fifteen-and-a-half, claiming that children had no sexual desire at all, only the passions for friendship and ambition. A second prerequisite for the new amorous world was a radical change in the position of women. It was necessary to recognize that women had the same sexual needs as men: 'Woman is not a subject of lust, but an active participant' (Debout, p.cxi). The third prerequisite formulated by Fourier was the sexual minimum. This minimum would transform amorous relationships by ridding them of any sort of constraint or need. Only after the fear of sexual deprivation had disappeared would men and women be free to develop their full sexual potential.
Then there was Saint-Simon:
Some months before, the Saint-Simonian women had founded their own organizations and publication, La Femme Libre (August 1832-spring 1834). The editors were all working-class women and called themselves 'we women of the people', but they explicitly addressed their newspaper to all women. They vehemently criticized the status of the housewife and the dominance of the family. The paper provided a platform for an impassioned discussion about the importance of sexuality. 'We shall love without hypocrisy and laugh about prejudices', they stated (Poldervaart, 1993, pp.162-165). Some women who were active in the journal were known to have tried to practice their ideas of free love in the here and now. Claire Demar pleaded passionately for passionate love, against fidelity, for the abolition of fatherhood, and for social motherhood instead of biological motherhood. But her ideas and the fact that she lived together with her younger lover were too radical for the Saint-Simonian women, which led to her increasing isolation within the movement. Pauline Roland planned to be a mother without having to marry and was proud of that. She had four children, all of whom bore her name and for whom she had sole responsibility. All went well until there was major unemployment in the 1830s; then Roland had to humiliate herself by begging food for her and her children from wealthy Saint-Simonian men.
(Quotes from Saskia Poldervaa's "The Recurring Movements of 'Free Love'," Google cache here.) In fact, I wonder how many examples you could come up with of ideas that were genuinely unspeakable at any time. Controversial, yes, and sometimes severely punished (when they threatened power structures), but it seems to me people have said outrageous things throughout history without the help of Paul Graham.
posted by languagehat at 7:33 AM on January 6, 2004


the essay applies equally to how the minds of great thinkers work and also the minds of misanthropic cranks.

Many of the greatest thinkers of history have also been misanthropic cranks.

it seems to me people have said outrageous things throughout history without the help of Paul Graham.

Most things have been said more than once in the past by someone, somewhere. Are you suggesting that we should therefore keep silent ourselves to avoid the repetition, even though in many cases most of us may have no exposure to those original utterances?

That's not how cultural transmission works, as you well know. We all stand on the shoulders of giants.
posted by rushmc at 9:45 AM on January 6, 2004


Are you suggesting that we should therefore keep silent ourselves to avoid the repetition

Of course not. I'm suggesting that Paul Graham is ludicrously overselling his minor insight.
posted by languagehat at 1:36 PM on January 6, 2004


I'm suggesting that Paul Graham is ludicrously overselling his minor insight.

Perhaps. But the same could be true of virtually every "self-help" book on the shelves, among other things. Why single this out for derision? What of the legions for whom it is actually new and thought-provoking? Maybe we're just not part of his target audience.
posted by rushmc at 3:09 PM on January 6, 2004


Why single this out for derision?

Because it's posted on MeFi, of course! What a question. Still, you do have a point. As long as we all agree it's no more important or impressive than the average self-help book, I'm willing to let it go on its way without further boot marks on its ass.
posted by languagehat at 3:31 PM on January 6, 2004


Fair enough.
posted by rushmc at 6:25 PM on January 6, 2004


If you want an intriguing and yet also horrifying treatise (so to speak) on what it really means to flout cultural norms, I recommend Lautreamont's Maldoror.

I also recommend it to anyone who thinks that anything written in the 19th century cannot possibly still have the power to shock.

One Amazon reviewer reminded me that:
"He encourages readers to kidnap a child and torture it, to taste its tears and its blood--all within the first 30 pages."
posted by vacapinta at 7:57 PM on January 6, 2004


Can I leave one more waffle-stain on this fellow's behind before we bury the dead horse? Thanks.

someone who comforts himself with this thought is almost certain to be mistaken.

No mention of why, nor is it qualified as the unjustified opinion it seems to be. Argument by fiat only works if you're some sort of authority, right? Who's this yap-dog?
posted by majick at 10:34 PM on January 9, 2004


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