Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Would she be happier if the advertisements were in Newspeak?

In Richmond, British Columbia, this is happening:
A Richmond woman has renewed her call for a ban on Chinese-only signage after ads for Crest toothpaste appeared in several city bus shelters.

Kelly Starchuk says advertising only in a language other than English or French acts to isolate people rather than bring them together, which she believes is a threat to multiculturalism.

"If we can work together and be honest with one another and have this inclusive community which includes our official languages where we communicate with one another, that is the utmost important thing," she said.

Right, because nothing says "multiculturalism" and "inclusive" like trying to get a municipal government to dictate the linguistic content of advertisements. Whether Proctor and Gamble should put up Chinese-only advertisements is up to the market to decide, and here, the market is more multicultural and inclusive than at least one resident nanny-statist wants it to be.

Starchuk adds, "There doesn't seem to be a solution." Perhaps because there doesn't seem to be a problem? On this side of the 49th parallel, we have plenty of Spanish-only advertising, but Anglophone Americans somehow muddle through.

Finally, this comment deserves a shout-out:

All adverts should be in languages Indigenous to this land, not those imported from Europe or Asia.

Self-ownership for Michael Bloomberg, but not for you

Michael Bloomberg, regarding his failed war on soda, recently said (emphasis added),
“We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet,” he said. “And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we’re doing something about it.”

Bloomberg wanted the public to know that the decision overturning his big beverage ban “was not a setback for me.”

Rather, “this is a setback for the people who are dying.” He added, lest there be any misunderstanding about his paternalistic motives, “In case you hadn’t noticed, I watch my diet. This is not for me.

Bloomberg seems to think that while he can be trusted to watch his diet, the peasants cannot be, so that they need the supervision of the ruling class. I should prefer it if politicians watched their diets and left me free to watch mine as I see fit. Liberals and progressives who disagree should remember that the itch to restrict people's freedom for their own good has been used against LGBT people, among others.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Elane Photography: It's time to switch talking points.

In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's denial of certiorari in Elane Photography, the socially liberal left and the socially conservative right have abruptly switched talking points on whether we should be left alone to live life as we see fit or submit to government to impose a common moral code on all of us, on whether we should trust democracy or ask the judicial branch to protect our rights from the howling mob. Be careful what you wish for; you just might will get it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Someone actually said this: Robert Caro on Manhattan's bookstore desert

We read in this New York Times article that rising rents in some of America's richest neighborhoods, as well as new business models such as online shopping, are driving booksellers out of Manhattan. At least one person has already called for government to step in and do something:
“Sometimes I feel as if I’m working in a field that’s disappearing right under my feet,” said the biographer and historian Robert Caro, who is a lifelong New Yorker.

* * *

“How can Manhattan be a cultural or literary center of the world when the number of bookstores has become so insignificant?” he asked. “You really say, has nobody in city government ever considered this and what can be done about it?”

I hope not; do we need subsidized rents for bookstores on Fifth Avenue? Nonetheless, I imagine that someone in city government has considered it. One of the first things that we learned in law school is "Not every bummer is a tort," but in today's political climate, every bummer is a call for government action.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Today's vocabulary word: evolve

evolve, v.i. to be altered to suit changing political expediency: The candidate's position on that issue has evolved.

How you see your Maine coon....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Today's vocabulary term: appeal to nature

appeal to nature, n. phr. an informal logical fallacy that says that something is good because it is natural or bad because it is unnatural. When I read a letter to the editor saying that nonhuman animals don't do such-and-such, I wonder how often nonhuman animals write letters to the editor.