Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Negative Connotations

There is a "sculpture wall" installed in an out-of-the-way section of the wood shop, here at the college where I work. The wall is set up to look like your standard gallery white wall, and students will document (photograph) their finished projects with this as a professional backdrop.

When I opened the studio this morning, someone had left up a wall-mounted ceramics piece from the previous night's "documentation session". In the dim light, it looked like a giant buttocks, a big 'ol butt on the wall. And when I turned on lights, it was definitely a big fat pair of butt cheeks, but with  these little hemorrhoidal Leggo connector pegs interspersed within the butt crack. (Yeah, ick). This just made it all the more repulsive, and knowing that it was a fat-assed, unpleasant, illogically egotistical cow of a woman who had made the piece did improve the association.

This often happens with abstracted objects. There is an unfortunate lack of thought as to what the object may resemble. And more often than not, a negative connotation is formed.

I remember one time, a kid was making an abstracted object out of stone, and while he was contemplating it, I mentioned "Hey, wow. That looks like a big old dick".

"No, it doesn't!"

"Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's a dick. Come here. Look at it from here".

"No! It.. it's suppos-, I-... aww sheeit!"

Ah, well, So it goes. Some things start out as one thing and end up another. Some things have one meaning, and, confused or conflated with something else, end up with a completely different take, in  a process called pejoration (taking on negative connotations).

Examples. Cock. Pussy. Uranus. Penal colony. Ejaculate.  
(A rooster. A cat. A planet. A prison. An excited verbal exclamation.)

How about the word "skeptic". It's been on a long, slow pejorative slide for some time. Originally imbued with the positive meaning of "investigator", towards the less positive connotation of "doubter" (but still, concerned with evidence rather than belief), then finally "nonbeliever", or, as in the phrase "climate skeptic" dangerously stupid asshole. 

You know, I have four categories of stupid. 
No 1) is developmentally challenged, as in not enough processing power, and those in this category get a break. 
No 2) is ignorant, as in hasn't been provided or has been denied the facts, and those in this category get a break as well. 
No 3) is just plain stupid, as in, they got the brains, they got the information, but they just can't seem to make connections, and usually I will cut them some slack, until I realize there is no way they are going to get it, and then I just have to say "Out of the way so I can get the job done, stupid". 
And No 4)... No 4) is dangerously stupid. They got the information, they can process the information, they can put 2 + 2 together, but they willfully ignore the conclusions or consequences because it does not fit into their worldview, or will seriously inconvenience their lifestyle, or will compromise the lofty view of themselves that they so illogically possess. These people, if I had my way, would be landfill. There is really nothing else to be done with them.

And I am of the opinion that climate skeptics are dangerously stupid. They may think they are in the right, but if so, why the need to cherry-pick data, by presenting, for example, long discredited scientific papers as current science? Why the need to twist numbers to match their conclusions? Why the need to lie

Which is, of course, what I've seen on every single climate skeptic site, provided they actually have anything like charts or data. Most of the time, it's simply a generalized dismissal, such as "All that global warming stuff is a bunch of hooey, so there!" 

The current silliness about Climategate (hah!) certainly does nothing to discredit the nearly century of work on the subject, any more than finding someone was wrong about today's weather means you can't trust their opinion on anything! What an absurd form of reasoning.

Fact of the matter is this. We, as a species, move more earth and stone than the largest rivers. We farm a land area equal to the entire South American continent. (Look it up!) We've increased the acidity of the entire global ocean by creating carbonic acid from carbon emissions (from a global average of pH of 8 to a pH of 7.7 - and pH scale is logarithmic). (Look it up!) We haven't quite turned the world's oceans into vinegar yet, but give us time. Glaciers, and the arctic ice cap are shrinking and melting (and someone tell me how they can melt if the earth is getting cooler as the skeptics would have us believe?) Even the Antarctic continent, for all practical purposes cut off from the rest of the world's weather systems, is being effected by the heat. That's a big thing, when a continent cut off from global winds and current by an insulation of miles of ice is still perturbed. (Oh, sure, the skeptics will tell you that the eastern Antarctic ice cap is increasing, and it is. This is because there is more precipitation in the form of snow, and it only snows down there when water gets a chance to evaporate, which requires heat). I could go on and on, but there are better websites that document all of this, and I'm close to frothing at the mouth on this.

Skeptics? Skeptics? Come one, you fucking stupids.  We are a Force of Nature now. Time to grow up and act like one.

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