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Who are you? and What's your IQ? in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #73
quote:
Originally written by Ash Lael:

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

My real name and picture can be found in my profile.

I'm an 18-year-old Australian university student who's about six months away from graduating with a degree in biomedical science.

My IQ places me in the top 0.00003% of the world's population.

I said my first words at the age of five months and was speaking in complete sentences by one year.

I am an accomplished scholar of all the natural sciences, and also of psychology.

My favourite book throughout my early childhood was a 1400-page catalogue of common human diseases, which I began reading at the age of 3 and stopped only once I had memorised it. This had a number of interesting effects on my development, including causing me to use the phrase "pain in the groin or lower abdomen" at inappropriate times.

I know a vast assortment of quotations, anecdotes, jokes and other miscellaneous bons mots for every conceivable social occasion.

I am a distinguished public speaker.

My picture has appeared on the front page of a popular magazine.

Women find me irresistible. So do a surprising number of men.

Some people have accused me of being slightly arrogant at times.

Big deal.

Were you shearing sheep at the age of ten?

No?

Have you ever been given gifts by fans?

No?

Held a live, vicious, poisonous snake in your bare hands?

No?

Has a date with you ever been given away as a prize on a radio station?

No?

Then it's settled. I'm cooler.

Fame is fleeting.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #20
Shao's headquarters - Execa - 200 days after secession

"God damn it, Wade. You're telling me that the undead infestation to the south has a leader now? As in, they're fighting under a single banner as an organized army, much like ourselves?"

"Well, sir, that's exactly what we had to expect," replied Colonel Meriwether to his flustered commander. "Without Imperial agents in Valorim to keep order, it was bound to go to pot quickly. Between Avernite settlement, looser ordinances on magecraft, and a destabilized situation to begin with, we're not exactly talking about the best environment for multilateral statecraft."

Shao eyed Meriwether angrily. "You know as well as I do that the 'Imperial agents' nonsense was propaganda. We were the ones spreading that idiot rumor, and if there were Imperial agents of any kind, half of this chaos would be a no-show. Instead, we've got the lovely choice between dealing with subhumans, dealing with bandits, dealing with fanatics, and dealing with the dead."

Meriwether grunted. "What is your instinct on this one?"

"Kill them all and let the Emperors past know their own." Shao laughed. "Something seems so wrong about a treasonist invoking the Emperors, doesn't it? Well, so it goes. The only faction neighboring us without a robust trade in banditry are the giants; the fundamentalists are too far, the undead are certain to turn rogue before long, and the Nephilim are a pirate state hostile to our interests. Send feelers out to the giants: we're offering them vassalhood in exchange for help in our efforts to contain banditry and disorder on Valorim."

"So our response to... "Red Ribbon"?"

Shao thought on it. "It's a tempting offer, but we could always cut a deal with someone demanding something besides corpses for timber. Let it be known that, in the future, all corpses recovered - be they our own, those of enemies, or, circumstances permitting, those of allies - should be ceremonialized, crushed, and thrown into the sea as chum."

[ Tuesday, May 31, 2005 16:02: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #18
quote:
Originally written by secondwind:

OOC:

Does anyone have a rough sketch of Ermania? Aizo? I'm not sure what to call my locations... whatever is near the northern polar cap.

Conventional wisdom dictates that's a long, long ways away from where the action is... I couldn't even reasonably put you in a (scaled) map of the other factions.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #17
I've got a map of factions I'm maintaining.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #4
Mmm, I suppose. But I happen to prefer that factions be on Valorim until we run out of room.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #2
New factions welcome. (Note: this is not a character-oriented RP; while plenty of factions might have a dynamic leader, understand that the FACTION and not the LEADER is the focus of the RP efforts.)

I'll edit new ones into faction rolls as they come along.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #1
[i]FACTION ROLLS[/i]
In no particular order.

Template:
Faction Name

System of Government:
Government Legitimacy:
Government Stability:
Location:
Sphere of Greatest Influence:
Territory:

Fiscal System:
Fiscal Status:
Economic Growth:
Standard of Life:
Imports:
Exports:

Population:
Recognized Species:
Populating Species:
Army:
Comparative Technology Level:
Army Training:
Army Discipline:

Diplomatic Status:
Traditional Enemies:
Major Problems:

Flag Description:

The Empire

System of Government: Absolute Monarchy
Government Legitimacy: Absolute
Government Stability: Zero
Location: Global
Sphere of Greatest Influence: Global
Territory: incalculably vast
NOTE: the Empire lays explicit claim to 'the Imperial Palace, the City of Imperia which surrounds it, all to the west, east, north, and south of her, all lands, seas, and skies in between, and all above and below her' -- in effect, the entire Universe

Fiscal System: Feudal-Capitalist
Fiscal Status: Bankrupt
Economic Growth: Contractionary, disastrous
Standard of Life: Global Standard (definitionally)
Imports: N/A (embargoes all factions, otherwise controls world trade)
Exports: N/A (embargoes all factions, otherwise controls world trade)

Population: incalculably large
NOTE: figure for home continents and Crown Avernum around 1 billion; the Empire lays explicit claim to entire Universe and as such cannot properly calculate all sapients under its legal jurisdiction
Recognized Species: Human
Populating Species: All sapient races
Army: incalculably large
NOTE: only Imperial Expeditionary Force is active, comprising six Imperial Expeditionary Force commands -- one for each home continent, Avernum, and the Outlands -- each 5 million in size and further subdivided as the situation demands
Comparative Technology Level: Global Standard (definitionally)
Army Training: Global Standard (definitionally)
Army Discipline: Mutinous
NOTE: while the Imperial Army as a whole is a band of mutinous scum, the Imperial Expeditionary Force retains some significant loyalty to the Crown

Diplomatic Status: N/A
NOTE: the Empire does not and legally cannot officially recognize the right of any other nation to exist
Traditional Enemies: N/A
NOTE: the Empire will continue to treat each and every faction as a mortal enemy so long as it exists
Major Problems: plagues; banditry; high treason; rampant corruption; overspreading of ministries; failure to effectively rule save by force any of its jurisdictional territory except a few square miles of Pralgad; rebellions due to taxation, religion, ethnicity, species, lack of taxation, proximity of non-humans, proximity of other rebellions, non-proximity of non-humans, non-proximity of other rebellions, reactionary, democratic, republican, anarcho-communist, anarcho-capitalist, anarcho-pragmatist, and anarcho-utopian tendencies, mind control, military incompetence, military competence, insane nobility, sane nobility, conflation of ethnicity and species, direct and wanton Imperial attack, popular figures rising in revolt, unpopular figures rising in revolt, sheer cussedness, and counter-rebellions against any and all of the above; the Vahnatai

Flag Description: white horizontal band on top, black horizontal band on bottom, each taking roughly 1/6 of the banner; the middle 2/3 of the background is dominated by a green and a blue band, meeting each other halfway across the flag; this is the banner for the Empire, and is most commonly seen defaced with a four-rayed sun in the center (with one ray pointing into each field); variant banners with a similar device exist with black, green, blue, and theoretically white backgrounds depending on the branch of Imperial Army service in which it is used

---

Shao's Legions

System of Government: Martial dictatorship
Government Legitimacy: High
Government Stability: High
Location: Execa, Valorim
Sphere of Greatest Influence: Valorim
Territory: Execa, outposts around it

Fiscal System: Feudal-style command economy; goods and services provided in exchange for protection
Fiscal Status: Stable
Economic Growth: Small
Standard of Life: Fair
Imports: Labor, supplies
Exports: War materiel
NOTE: Shao's Legions, in addition to illegally selling high-quality weapons and armor, enjoy a robust mercenary trade while not at war

Population: ca. 65,000
NOTE: this figure represents civilians within SL sphere of influence; they have few legal rights except for protection by the government from crime
Recognized Species: Humans (military)
NOTE: Shao's Legions technically obey the racial protocol of the Imperial military; they do not take into consideration militiamen, independent mercenaries, or allied nonhumans
Populating Species: Human
Army: 15,300
Comparative Technology Level: Excellent
Army Training: Good
Army Discipline: Good

Diplomatic Status: Shao is no diplomat, and his relations with other factions are mostly ad hoc. However, this faction takes a particularly dim view of pirate states, which it views as a threat to stability, to magical consortiums, which it views as competition, and to the Empire, which considers it a pack of high treasonists and has put a price on the head of every member
Traditional Enemies: None
NOTE: due to the mercenary nature of Shao's Legions, it is atypical for them to pursue a diplomatic grudge unless the other party poses a direct threat to their security
Major Problems: Shao's Legions depend on the market for weapons and mercenaries; an outbreak of peace would pose a serious problem to their continued economic viability; the peasantry owes little personal loyalty to the Legions and bad conditions are likely to cause major rebellion in the absence of a real and powerful civilian government

Flag Description: black defaced with a red saltire

[ Monday, May 30, 2005 13:02: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
RP: The Empire Always Loses in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #0
The Empire, as public record will gladly show, always loses.

The Empire lost the first Empire-Exile war. The Empire came out the worst of the players in the Plagues. The Empire did plenty of losing in the years to follow.

It is now some hundreds of years after the reign of Prazac I. The Empire is ruled by a few doddering, inbred incompetents, the Imperial Army and Imperial Navy are continuously squabbling for prestige and funding, and Avernum is worse.

There is civil war on the horizon. An Empire that rules dozens of continents (advances in shipmaking and scrying have proven that the Empire is far smaller, with respect to the cosmos, than it likes to believe) and thousands of miles of cavern cannot retain control over all of it.

Some would be nice.

The greatest civil conflict is approaching the biggest, most diverse, and most hideously incompetent and overstretched government the universe will know for some time.

And the Empire, as public record will gladly show, always loses.

...

The tide of separatist movements would begin, appropriately enough, in Avernum, where bitterness over centuries of Imperial misrule since the reunification have come to a head. While Avernum has no unified government as it did in the first War, several powerful factions seem to be arising from the ashes -- as down there the government hardly even bothers pretending it maintains control -- and, given that the porous caverns will offer easy transport for any group of warring factions, they may stand to become the most influential on the course of Imperial history.

Shao's Legions were the first to revolt, but more would certainly follow.

--

House rules:
First, no unreasonably unrealistic behavior unless consented to by all affected parties. This is called drawbridging and it was the bane of this RP's last incarnation.

Second, play by the most decent facsimile of the golden rule possible.

Third, no overpowered factions, no continent-rulers, and no monopolies. Yes, these things have existed in history, but they make for a damn poor RP.

Fourth, new factions should arise from the Empire, unless arrangements have been made otherwise.

Fifth, if 'We aren't human' becomes an excuse too often, reconsider why you're playing as the race you are.

Sixth, the Empire hates everyone equally, effectively blocks most easy expansion, and most certainly won't make any deals with you.

Seventh, all four canon continents share a land connection and all land on Ermarian shares connection by the cave-system. Connection to the cave-system is a trait essentially universal to all factions.
While this means you can basically pull the equivalent of marching from New Guinea to Greenland, things work out better that way.

Eighth, the Knights Of The Old Republic space paradigm applies to Avernum: it, like space, is essentially limitless, but going outside of explored territory is asking for it and very little territory has been explored.

Ninth, the Empire always loses.

Have fun, everyone!

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(WORTH NOTING: Because I am lazy, in TEAL, Exile is the cave system and Avernum is the country; the Imperials use them interchangably, the Exiles/Avernites do not, but no one generally cares what they have to say.
CANON NOTES:
The conflict between humanity and the Vahnatai, along with the inviability of Micah's imperial line, lead to a dynastic and eventually national union between the Empire and Avernum.
The Vahnatai are not one faction; the Vahnatai faction possessing Rentar-Ihrno is one of many.
The tech level has advanced to one roughly coherent with the early Renaissance: early cannons, but no hand-cannons, no extensive use or study of explosives, and relatively limited understanding of physics. Heavy siege weapons are extremely expensive, nationalism is a non-factor, and mages of great power tend to be mercenary and, again, very expensive. Magic is in a defensive period (e.g. shielding is generally better and cheaper than attack magic), whereas tech is in an offensive period (e.g. weapons are generally more powerful than armor).
)

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Who are you? and What's your IQ? in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #36
I am everyone and I am no one.

I live in the back of your head. I dwell in the shadows behind you. I am a fiction. I am universal truth.

I'm resigned to failure. I'm prepared for success. I'm a future four-term President. I'm a sex scandal waiting to happen. Some day my signature will be worth money. In the future they will need paper.

I'm a bad fanboy, a bad liberal, a bad Jew, the worst man ever.

I front a famous band. I hunger and wander. I dine on café noir and rocky lobster. I barely speak French, I barely understand Spanish, I barely swear in German and I barely avoid Japanese. I blog without blogging, I chat without chatting, I game without gaming.

I am the Messiah you seek when you're not seeking the Messiah.

Most of all, I'm a terrible liar. I trust no one. I follow no orders. I demand you do the same.

I am Alexander Kyras, and I am still fat.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Karma and Bush, and also the WTC in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #76
quote:
Originally written by 4.808 x 10^3:

We left Afghanistan because Iraq was becoming more of a priority with the threat of WMDs (which may or may not have existed; Saddam wouldn't tell people if he had them and certainly wouldn't leave them out in the open for everyone to see.
Which is why we had weapons inspectors in the country. Hans Blix. Remember Hans Blix? The weapons inspector your entire side of the fence mocked for declaring there was no sound reason to believe there to be WMDs in Iraq?
Who was right on that one, ben? Was it George Bush or Hans Blix?
quote:

You must understand that we still need to keep soldiers in Iraq because the country is still largely unstable. Since we've already gone in, took down Saddam's regime, and had elections, we may as well finish what we started and give the new democracy a strong foothold in stability as the insurgents are cleared out. You'll have to agree that Iraq is both a better place to live and less of a threat to other countries without someone like Saddam Hussein ruling.

There are other priorities. With the kind of money and manpower we pissed into Iraq, we could have stabilized and rebuilt the infrastructure of any two African countries which had less invested into hating us. But no: we had to pick a fight with a religious community which already sees us as an adversary.
quote:

Finally, I'd just like to say that Bush bases much of what he does on religion because that's what he believes is right. If you choose not to follow his religion (I'd encouage following it though), I can't really stop you and neither can he. But since he finds confort and leadership in God, he bases his Presidency on that. That's all I'll say there.

Okay, here's the problem: he can base whatever he likes in his personal life on whatever the hell he believes in. He believes abortion is wrong, he can carry his children to term. He believes homosexuality is wrong, he and Dick can remain chaste. But it becomes something else entirely when he decides, as a President, to focus on his religion. Just because he believes something is right doesn't mean I should be forced to abide by it.

How would you feel if Bush were a Muslim and he were forcing you to pray five times daily in the direction of Mecca, forego pork, and refuse to wear gold or silk? Maybe pushed laws penalizing your mother for not wearing a burqah? Would you still be so damn enthused about the subject of a fundamentalist President if he weren't your kind of fundamentalist?

ALSO!
I do not consider the first part of what Mind said credible - I've never heard of any such thing, personally, and doubt it is or even could be true - but look up the word 'desertification'. There are huge belts of farmland in areas which need farmland badly which can dry up and die based on an annual change of fractional degrees - global warming is killing millions of people, and Bush won't even acknowledge it as a valid scientific observation.

As has been pointed out, no credible ecologist says global warming isn't happening. A few (largely on the payroll of major companies, might I add) will tell you it's natural, but TM's lovely graph tends to disagree with that, along with all collected observational data (Antarctic pack ice, stuff like that). None are going to tell you it won't have a realistic impact, either.

People are going to die. Quality of life is going to decline. We have known this since the Reagan Administration, and George W. Bush is the first President since then to try and reverse our attempts to fight it. At the behest not of ecologists - people who go out and collect real data and apply them to the real world - but of think tanks.

The policies of Bush I and Clinton were to talk to ecologists and address the problem - looking at experimental and observational data to get results. Bush's policy is to consult 'think tanks', which are basically corporate-bankrolled organizations to produce logically sound 'theories' for a factually bankrupt cause. Essentially, they're professional excuse-makers.

I don't think this is a political issue. I can't even see it as one. Do you just enjoy being wrong? Because the facts are not on Bush's side on this one at all, and acting as if they are or even could be is disingenious.

[ Sunday, May 29, 2005 11:37: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Global Warming or Global Cooling in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #10
Fun fact: no matter where you live, global warming will ruin your life. Raising temperatures 2-3 degrees will cause massive crop failures, reduce the food supply well below demand, and so forth.

The kind of increase we're probably going to see in our livetimes - 5-10 degrees - would not cause another Ice Age, but certainly another Dark Age. Being incapable of raising enough food to feed everyone without wanton tyranny is going to do a lot of unpleasant stuff to the kind of life you probably enjoy now.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Super Smash Brothers Characters in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #16
Kirby. Because I am a ninja.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Aarh me mateys, time for pirates and ships. in Blades of Avernum
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #17
quote:
Originally written by I'll Steal Your Toast:

Thinking about boats-- I was wondering if a mage would make a flying ship or blimp in Avernum. It would be the kind of thing which X from the tower of the magi would do on a whim.
I hope you realize how very bad an idea a ligher than air craft is in a cave system...

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Karma and Bush, and also the WTC in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #41
Which exact part of 'threatens human life on a massive scale' happened to elude you, you contrarian nitwit?

If a business can't operate without killing or injuring people, it shouldn't be operating. Yes, there are exceptions to this, but no, this does not change the simple fact that poisoning children with mercury in order to increase the profit margins of an electric company is wrong. The coal emissions regulations in particular have that exact result.

Then we can look at global warming, which Bush, backed by no credible ecologists but plenty of credible businessmen, has considered an unqualified hypothesis and continuously dismantled regulations against.

We're not talking about bringing an industry to a halt to leave a species of worm undisturbed. We're talking about poisoning, choking, dehydrating, and starving millions of people and leaving the Earth close to uninhabitable within decades, barring drastic social change. There's a difference, and behaving as if there isn't is despicable.

[ Friday, May 27, 2005 19:15: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Karma and Bush, and also the WTC in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #39
quote:
Originally written by cfgauss:

You can't represent both sides at once, you know! The point of a leader is to make decisions, and if you can't make a decision without second guessing yourself, or subverting yourself later, you have no place in charge of anything. If you do that, even if you make the right decisions, you end up changing your mind later and screwing them up. And look at all the great leaders in history, they were all able to make their decision and stand by it.
Dogged intransigence doesn't make a good leader anywhere except in the heads of madmen. I challenge you to find a credible historian who will ascribe the characteristic as you describe it (no reversal, no self-questioning, etc.) to a national leader who is not also a mass murderer, and coincidentally insane.
Grow up. The world is a complex place, the President is a man, nothing more or less, and sometimes it is his unfortunate job to admit he was wrong. The shuck and jive act Bush has personally played with the question of Iraqi WMDs - 'Well, they still might be there' becomes unofficial announcements becomes lower-level press releases becomes 'faulty intelligence' - is sickening and demoralizing. I find that sort of vile philandering far, far worse than changing your position when the facts change, or what we know of the facts change - because every President in American history, George W. Bush included, has been forced to do so, but never has any President been forced to lie to the American people and the world.

quote:

And really, it's insane when people talk about "destroying" Iraq. People complain that Americans don't know anything about other countries, but the lack of knowledge people all over the world show about Iraq is disgusting. In Iraq, the government had a habit of, when people left the country, were suspected of wanting to leave the country, were suspected of talking to people in other countries, got to much power in the Iraqi gov't/army, someone didn't like you, etc, etc, taking their family, and starting with the youngest (i.e., CHILDREN) raping, and then killing them in front of the other family, one by one, until they were all dead. Boys and girls, children and adults. And in Iraq, as in many other countries like it, people often live with their extended families in one house--parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandkids. I hardly call overthrowing that government "destroying" a nation.
And that's not even the worst things they've done. I'll leave it to you to research the rest. And this was all stuff that had been going on for some 20 years, there.

I was talking about the U.S. And the claim that Clinton and Bush have similar environmental records is completely risible - the Bush administration is essentially a corporate puppet state, and has taken few to no positive measures as regard environmental concerns.
While the U.S. tradition does and should favor production over pristinity, under Bush we're talking about truly scary stuff that threatens human life on a massive scale for the sake of industry. (Mercury and lead restrictions reduced or removed, subsidies and stimuli fed to the coal industry, etc.)

[ Friday, May 27, 2005 17:44: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Karma and Bush, and also the WTC in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #31
Flip-flopping versus country-ruining.

Hmm.

Decisions, decisions.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Avatar? Yours? Possibly? in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #12
IMAGE(http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/oct99/k8595-9.jpg)

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Music in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #52
I find a refusal to even respond to me disingenious; I gave you the courtesy of a point-by-point battery, concrete examples, a thought experiment, direct responses, and appeals to a mutual theology.

I would understand if you conceded the point - that there is no actual religious basis for not swearing, and attempting to suppress swearing is an inherently negative activity - but I find just ignoring me insulting and I certainly didn't do it to you, even if I understood that "whatever I had to say you wouldn't believe it anyway".

Of course, you can ignore me. Or I can encourage everyone to add the classic quote in which you directly state swearing causes brain damage to their signatures, the better to ridicule you for doing so. Either which way...?

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Life Expectancy in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #20
I get a blank white box.

How telling.

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The biggest, the baddest, and the fattest.
Posts: 2367 | Registered: Friday, June 27 2003 07:00
Music in General
Bob's Big Date
Member # 3151
Profile Homepage #33
quote:
Originally written by N00BEN:

quote:
Originally written by Custer XVI:

listening to music full of words with crude and obscene connotations will, inarguably, fill your mind with crudity and obscenity.

See, here's the problem: I'd dispute your impact (a) logically following from your warrant and (b) actually outweighing the cost of removing invective from society. In other words, I find the blanket claim that dirty words engender dirty thoughts spurious, and compared to suppressing the power of language...


This is not to say that these words should be taken out of our language; I know people will continue to use them, but frequent use of such strong words as those in a vulgar way is not very appealing to all that have to listen to it every day.

So? I'm arguing that even in *personal* cases, marginalizing swearing has no non-external positive (e.g. yes, there's social conventions, but that's assuming society is right to believe 'screw you' is worse than 'you have five fathers, and not a one is human') and a real negative (suppressing linguistic flexibility).
quote:

In the vast majority of cases, even should you not personally view such words in such a manner, your knowledge and experience, through a lifetime of interacting with those who do view them in such a manner, does, to at least a very small extent, plant within your mind a hint of such connotations.

I am reminded of a famous work of Donne here - Not My Will, But Thine. Every time I've had a discussion over it, those who should agree with its message most consider it an illegitimate expression of faith because Donne speaks of being ravaged by the Deity (this is 16th-century, mind - it's not new or anything). When confronted with the idea that there exists divinity in even the carnal act, they bandy about words like 'vulgar' and 'inappropriate'.


Which are words commonly used to describe cuss words. And in most cases, they are vulgar and inappropriate.

Yes, and?
quote:

I do not understand the contempt for the crude, vulgar, and obscene. It's as much a part of life as anything, and removing your ability to express it - condemn it, invoke it, paeanize it, whatever - is hideously stultifying to diction and spirit.

Eh, there's always other ways to express your emotions at the moment than cussing.

They exist, but are they necessarily better? Since I dislike giving questions like this without giving an example: a married couple gets into a fight over something trivial. Assume there is no particular grievance except a particular, irreconcilable incident. Now, assume they have two alternatives: they can pointedly state their negative opinions Gallant-style or they can swear at each other like freaks Goofus-style. (To adopt the same paradigm you used for that, uh, intriguing example of yours.)
The Gallant-style couple is expressing nothing that either partner doesn't already know, in a deadly serious, measured, and precise tone.
The Goofus-style couple is just yelling profanities at each other.
Now, when the two wake up in the morning - after having calmed down, one sleeping on the couch, whatever - the Goofuses talk it over over coffee, chalk up their shouting to nerves, and live happily ever after.
The Gallants, on the other hand, have much more likely said bitter, hurtful things that will drive a severe wedge into their marriage; and even if BOTH do so, the Gallants have less ability to call it temporary anger and therefore less ability to deal with those wounds.
In this case, use of profanity creates a tone which, while more explosive in the short term, will probably be better for reconciliation in the long run; a lack thereof both removes that tone - turning that argument into a pointed exchange likely to permanently hurt feelings - and makes the bulk of the conversation focus more on actual grievances, which can't be smoothed out easily (as opposed to swear words, which are just swear words).

Food for thought.
quote:

---

Now, I buy the argument that listening to cursing leads one to curse more freely, because it makes sense. However, there seems to be a general presumption on the behalf of those who are pointing it out (i.e. ben) that cursing is, in and of itself, a bad thing. I mean, an analogy to smoking is made, but we don't smoke because Smoking is Bad(TM); we avoid it because it causes physical damage.


And cussing can cause mental damage. I think that just the fact that someone is cussing therefore implies some level of mental damage. Then when they cuss, other people's heads get filled with cuss words, and they start to include cuss words into the way they think and eventually the way they talk. Cussing can be kind of contagious in the same way as things like smoking and drugs are stereotyped as "cool" in the minds of a few young people.

Oh, and just because I'm saying it doesn't mean it's totally wrong and not worth believing. :P

Interesting claim. Interesting evidence?

[quote]
But then again, I suppose that's what happens when your moral complex relies on an outside locus of control - i.e. what you DO and DO NOT do basically boils down to a cosmic rolled-up newspaper, and there exists no internal authority.

Right, and personal beliefs ie. Christianity can have a lot to do with it too.

Yeah, but your personal beliefs basically amount to there existing a finger (usually your parents', sometimes your parents' dressed up as God's) which points and says NO and thereby makes something intrinsically wrong. You might be trying to justify a contempt for profanity by constructing a negative impact honestly enough (honestly, cussing causes brain damage...? are you JOKING?), but your underlying motive is more 'X is bad because someone else says so' rather than 'X has a clear negative impact'.

quote:

---

I'm sure you see an obvious difference. Though this is a rather extreme example, it demonstrates the point. Not only does the first person just seem like a better person, but you can tell that he's obviously less likely to go to jail, get in trouble at school, and upset people. Furthermore, these people can be interpreted as good, God-fearing people also. Truly, Christians are often stereotyped as good and gentle people, that is to say, just by talking to someone, you can generally tell if they're a Christian or not. But I know this is religion again, so you may not believe me there.

Hmm. Wrong:
a) 'Good, god-fearing' are an oxymoron. Those who fear God are more inclined to hate His creation and consider it evil.


God-fearing is a common synonym in the Christian world for worshipping and revering God. It does not mean to be afraid of him.

No, it means exactly 'to be afraid of him'. I find it despicable because it implies the idea that God works more through fear than love. A loving God encourages action; a cowing God inspires only reaction.
But then again, I always was more of a New Testament man than you, so...
quote:

b) What's preventing someone who curses like a sailor from being godly? I mean, God never actually prohibits it (except for taking His name in vain, of course - so no shouting the secret name of God to the cosmos) in any way.

It never says in the Bible that you can't use cuss words, and it certainly doesn't list any words one should never use, unless maybe using God in an ungodly context. Most Christians just see that cussing is a vulgar and a bad habit to have and it just generally goes against their life's standard of being a Christian person. Just because the Bible doesn't say doing some such thing is wrong, if it still seems wrong, true Christians will try to avoid doing it.

Hmm. I'm not so sure I like the idea of peer pressure being the source of religious values. Incidentally, have you ever heard of the witch-trials? For whatever crazy reason, I can't get them out of my head right now. You might like to look them up. They certainly were interesting.
quote:

c) You could make the case, I guess, that the swearing party is non-godly (based on what scripture, I have to wonder?), but that doesn't mean, conversely, that the non-swearing party is. Removing curse words from Hitler's private vocabulary wouldn't have solved much from a moral perspective.

I agree that just because you don't cuss, you are not necessarily a Christian, and just because you cuss doesn't mean you're non-Christian. It's just general that a Christian doesn't usually cuss and a non-Christian is more likely to pick it up.

Hmm. Fascinating. So you're telling me that a devout Christian, who follows a religion with no actual prohibitions on non-divine profanity, is less likely to swear than a devout Buddhist, who follows a religion which directly discourages it. I take it that is because the Buddhist is darker.

quote:

d) I suppose by what you consider Christian, you could tell from talking to someone - but that's because your brand of Christianity has a particular and pervasive pushiness to it that I find absurdly unpleasant.

It's in our religion to spread the good news (that Christ died for our sins), and we should strive to set an example for all non-Christians and be as much like Christ as we can. Not to say that Christians are perfect - no one is - but we try to get closer to perfect.

Being told about Christianity or just being excessively nice to by someone else can be rather uncomforting, especially on your conscience, but you know almost by instinct if what you're doing is right or wrong. One question is just whether or not to believe your instincts (or conscience, if you will) or beleive something else, maybe because other people believe it, it's easier, or something.

'Being told about Christianity' is something of a distortion and you know it. I mean, you might agree with the typical evangelist, but you can't tell me if he belonged to any other religion you'd find him tolerable for more than few minutes at a shot.
And 'being excessively nice to by someone' seems to assert (the phrasing is awful, but we all make mistakes) that Christians make a habit of being excessively charitable. I'm not sure I buy that - yes, there's a religious basis for charity, but it's a common factor to all religions. Mormons (who I doubt you'd consider Christian, having another book and not believing in Hell and all) consider charity a far greater virtue than the average protestant-evangelical; Muslims have their faith demand charity out of them; there are lots of Buddhist and Hindu charities out there; etc. Now, if we're talking religious people vs. atheists, I'd say religious people are more philosophically inclined to charity. But Christians vs. anyone else? Nah. We're no better.
quote:


e) I'd hardly think Christians are stereotyped as good and gentle; we're hardly qualified to stereotype ourselves, and in communities where we are not in the absurd majority (some immigrants, Jews, etc.) we're actually stereotyped as obnoxious, pushy, viciously exclusionary, and sometimes just outright mean-spirited.

How do you stereotype Christians, then? ben-like Republicans? You'd have to agree that most Christians are not perverse or mean. In fact, the better you get to know God, the more your actions tend to take this direction.

I know God just fine, and yet I've never believed in Hell, I've never felt compunction about swearing, I've never seen any event as having a divine cause, and I've never wanted to convert to a religion that would require me to.
I stereotype Christians as believers in the power of the word and/or the person of Christ. I stereotype protestant-evangelicals as you-like Republicans, yes. But that's because I like my stereotypes to have a basis in fact.

quote:

Really, I think your problem here is twofold:
a) You associate 'good' strongly with 'Christian'. I do not hesitate to remind you that plenty of Christians have been true SOBs, and plenty of icons of righteousness have been non-Christians (Torquemada; Gandhi).


Many people who claim to be Christians are just "believe in God just enough to get to heaven" people. They try to set a balance between drinking and other activities but believe in God just so they can go to heaven when they die. Needless to say, these people are not devoted Christians and don't have much backup for their claim. True Christians always strive to become better Christians.

I don't know. I'd say Torquemada did plenty of striving to be a better Christian, and a lot of striving for other people to be better Christians, too. But that's not really relevant - you have to recognize that all good is not Christianity and Christianity is not all good.
quote:

b) Your definition of good action and bad action is defined exclusively by an authoritarian schema. You believe God tells you cursing is wrong, therefore it's anti-Christian and being anti-Christian is punishment enough for you, so you refrain from swearing.

Though God does not directly say, "Swearing is bad! Don't ever do it or else!" as I said, people see that swearing isn't a good thing to practice and refrain from it.

Funny that they need a society which disapproves of swearing to make them feel bad about it. I've never been guilted over it and I know plenty of people who honestly do not care.
quote:

c) Amusingly enough, you believe God has - in Christianity, at least - had anything to say about profanity, outside of the big no-no of profaning God Himself. Perhaps it would suit you to read your Bible sometime; you sure do put an awful lot of stock for someome who gets their knowledge of it from hearsay.

I have already touched on this in earlier responses, so I don't feel the need to repeat myself too much here.

As I said, I would understand that your beliefs come from a rift in basic assumptions if you were justifying them by chapter and verse. But we're talking community standards here. They're shaky enough to base the law of man on, to say nothing of the law of God!
quote:
[b]
I would agree that Christianity should be a search for goodness, and its ultimate aim should be ultimate good, but you don't auto-magically achieve that by quivering before the cosmic rolled-up newspaper (man, I like that one - I'm going to write it down). There has to be an active search. I'm not convinced cursing is part of that.

There is an active search - life. Refraining from profanity is one of the things that can help with this search, making your mind clearer and your motives better.

[/b]
I've given a thought experiment to the direct contrary, and you've made some pretty specious claims. I think my side just holds more water.
[/quote]

[ Tuesday, May 24, 2005 18:45: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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listening to music full of words with crude and obscene connotations will, inarguably, fill your mind with crudity and obscenity.

See, here's the problem: I'd dispute your impact (a) logically following from your warrant and (b) actually outweighing the cost of removing invective from society. In other words, I find the blanket claim that dirty words engender dirty thoughts spurious, and compared to suppressing the power of language...

In the vast majority of cases, even should you not personally view such words in such a manner, your knowledge and experience, through a lifetime of interacting with those who do view them in such a manner, does, to at least a very small extent, plant within your mind a hint of such connotations.

I am reminded of a famous work of Donne here - Not My Will, But Thine. Every time I've had a discussion over it, those who should agree with its message most consider it an illegitimate expression of faith because Donne speaks of being ravaged by the Deity (this is 16th-century, mind - it's not new or anything). When confronted with the idea that there exists divinity in even the carnal act, they bandy about words like 'vulgar' and 'inappropriate'.

I do not understand the contempt for the crude, vulgar, and obscene. It's as much a part of life as anything, and removing your ability to express it - condemn it, invoke it, paeanize it, whatever - is hideously stultifying to diction and spirit.

---

Now, I buy the argument that listening to cursing leads one to curse more freely, because it makes sense. However, there seems to be a general presumption on the behalf of those who are pointing it out (i.e. ben) that cursing is, in and of itself, a bad thing. I mean, an analogy to smoking is made, but we don't smoke because Smoking is Bad(TM); we avoid it because it causes physical damage.

But then again, I suppose that's what happens when your moral complex relies on an outside locus of control - i.e. what you DO and DO NOT do basically boils down to a cosmic rolled-up newspaper, and there exists no internal authority.

---

I'm sure you see an obvious difference. Though this is a rather extreme example, it demonstrates the point. Not only does the first person just seem like a better person, but you can tell that he's obviously less likely to go to jail, get in trouble at school, and upset people. Furthermore, these people can be interpreted as good, God-fearing people also. Truly, Christians are often stereotyped as good and gentle people, that is to say, just by talking to someone, you can generally tell if they're a Christian or not. But I know this is religion again, so you may not believe me there.

Hmm. Wrong:
a) 'Good, god-fearing' are an oxymoron. Those who fear God are more inclined to hate His creation and consider it evil.
b) What's preventing someone who curses like a sailor from being godly? I mean, God never actually prohibits it (except for taking His name in vain, of course - so no shouting the secret name of God to the cosmos) in any way.
c) You could make the case, I guess, that the swearing party is non-godly (based on what scripture, I have to wonder?), but that doesn't mean, conversely, that the non-swearing party is. Removing curse words from Hitler's private vocabulary wouldn't have solved much from a moral perspective.
d) I suppose by what you consider Christian, you could tell from talking to someone - but that's because your brand of Christianity has a particular and pervasive pushiness to it that I find absurdly unpleasant.
e) I'd hardly think Christians are stereotyped as good and gentle; we're hardly qualified to stereotype ourselves, and in communities where we are not in the absurd majority (some immigrants, Jews, etc.) we're actually stereotyped as obnoxious, pushy, viciously exclusionary, and sometimes just outright mean-spirited.

Really, I think your problem here is twofold:
a) You associate 'good' strongly with 'Christian'. I do not hesitate to remind you that plenty of Christians have been true SOBs, and plenty of icons of righteousness have been non-Christians (Torquemada; Gandhi).
b) Your definition of good action and bad action is defined exclusively by an authoritarian schema. You believe God tells you cursing is wrong, therefore it's anti-Christian and being anti-Christian is punishment enough for you, so you refrain from swearing.
c) Amusingly enough, you believe God has - in Christianity, at least - had anything to say about profanity, outside of the big no-no of profaning God Himself. Perhaps it would suit you to read your Bible sometime; you sure do put an awful lot of stock for someome who gets their knowledge of it from hearsay.

I would agree that Christianity should be a search for goodness, and its ultimate aim should be ultimate good, but you don't auto-magically achieve that by quivering before the cosmic rolled-up newspaper (man, I like that one - I'm going to write it down). There has to be an active search. I'm not convinced cursing is part of that.

[ Tuesday, May 24, 2005 15:32: Message edited by: Custer XVI ]

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ADoS was pointing out (at least, I hope) the fact that Alorael meant to say he was posting an independent clause sans dependent clause.

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So, wait - we're trying to phase out a legitimate if ugly and uncouth part of language because it hurts some people's feelings?

Why, Ben. I had no idea you were a PC enthusiast.

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quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

If nobody minds, I'm going to seize upon an opportunity to make this topic into something more worthwhile.

quote:
Some music is good; other music is very degrading to someone's life. Especially if it's chalk full of cuss words.
Okay, so tell me, how do you define a "cuss word"? It can't relate to the subject matter; for if that were so, why could one word be worse than another with an identical meaning? Euphemisms would be of no use in such a case; some topics could simply not be discussed. But as euphemisms do exist and are widely used, clearly obscenity can have nothing to do with the semantic content of the words. Is it the sound of the words that offends you, then? The spelling, perhaps? Do the words "funk" and "shift" make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end?

Once again, you're trying to make a big, logically-backed philosophy out of ben's simple contempt for dark people, and that's going to lead to nothing but woe.

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Why?

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