On The Fundamental Problem With American Political Discourse


“The problem with the discourse situation in America is capitalism. That’s the problem with it because you can make a lot money by being an assassin. A lot of money. Whether you’re right-wing or left-wing, you go in and you’re a hater – radio, cable, in print, whatever, you get paid. And there are people who do that. And they go in – they don’t even believe half the stuff they say – and they just rip it up. And they get paid a lot of money. And that has coarsened everything. They’re phonies. Capitalism drives that. There are Americans who want to hear hate, and they hear it, and that has just blown it all up.”

– Bill O’Reilly

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On Laughter


“Our creed is nothing in the world is exempt from laughter.”

– Daniel Dennett

Figure of Thought‏


Sometimes people confuse figure of thought with figure of speech. These two devices are closely related in purpose but are not identical. The primary difference is that a figure of speech often uses specific words and word orders that become commonplace or even cliché due to overuse.

“In its broad sense, metaphor is not only a figure of speech but also a figure of thought. It is a mode of apprehension and a means of perceiving and expressing something in a radically different way. In such a sense, figurative images are not simply decorative but serve to reveal aspects of experience in a new light.”
– Ning Yu, “Imagery.” Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition, ed. by Theresa Enos. Taylor & Francis (1996)

The purpose of a figure of thought is twofold. First, it improves the larger aesthetic impression of the communication, making it seem more elite, mastered or beautiful. Secondly, a figure of thought allows an individual to get across more abstract concepts that truly might not be definable with concrete terms. In some cases, using a figure of thought ends up being more concise than if a person tried to describe everything behind the idea.

Ambivalence Theory


‘According to this concept of humour, our laughter is the symptom of an internal battle between opposing emotions. In 1653 Louis Joubert sowed the seeds of this theory when he proposed that comic laughter is an emotion located in the heart. When we experience a conflict between joy and sadness, the heart shakes the diaphragm, resulting in laughter.

A century or so later James Beattie wrote that laughter is evoked by ‘an opposition of suitableness and unsuitableness.’ William Hazlitt also contributed to this school of thought, noting in 1819 that ‘the jostling of one feeling against another’ was an essential element of the comical.

In recent years the platform for this debate has been increasingly philosophical rather than psychological – less emphasis on shaky diaphragms and even shakier anatomical knowledge – but for all these theorists, laughter is an outward sign of an inward conflict.

Psychologist J. Y. T. Greig asserts that all humour is based on a conflict between love and fear, while George Milner suggests that the clash between culture and nature is to blame. […]

“Cleanliness is next to impossible.”
– Audrey Austin

According to ambivalence theorists, laughter is essentially a wobble of uncertainty – even, perhaps, a snort of embarrassment, of not knowing how to react.

It’s a nice theory, but its a bit sweeping. For a start, not every ‘jostling of one feeling against another’ results in humour – far from it. Ambivalence about such existential oppositions as love and fear is more likely to result in uncertainty, brow-furrowing, and panic attacks, even though joking about it might help to diminish the angst. You could also argue that the tension between nature and culture defines the human condition, and just the psychology of humour.

As human beings, we are essentially apes aspiring to the condition of angels. The results of this struggle seldom rise above the farcical. So, in effect, all the ambivalence theory tells us is what we think, therefore we laugh.’

– Carr J., Greeves L. 2006. The Naked Jape – Uncovering The Hidden World Of Jokes London, Great Britain: Penguin Books (2007) p. 94-95

Cultural Attitudes Towards Cunnilingus‏


There are numerous (cultural) slang terms for cunnilingus, some are downright offensive, some are whimsically subtle. For instance, plucked from the relative obscurity of the Victorian era is the expression “tipping the velvet” to describe the oral stimulation clitoris.

Fresco from the Suburban baths depicting cunni...

Fresco from a Roman suburban bath depicting cunnilingus

In the course of history, cultural attitudes towards giving or receiving cunnilingus range from disgust to reverence. It has been considered taboo, or at least frowned upon, in many cultures and parts of the world.

Despite the clitoris being the female’s most sensitive erogenous zone and the primary source of sexual pleasure, cunnilingus is – as far as one can measure – not widely practised in a number of social and cultural settings.

People give various reasons for their dislike or reluctance to perform cunnilingus, or having cunnilingus performed on them: some regard cunnilingus unnatural or wrong because it does not lead to procreation; some cultures attach symbolism to different parts of the body, leading some people to believe that cunnilingus is ritually unclean or humiliating. This has been more or less the case in Christian and Sub-Saharan African cultures and other modern religions.

In Tantric yoga, the same emphasis is placed on the retention and absorption of vital liquids and Sanskrit texts describe how the male semen must not be emitted if the yogi is to avoid falling under law of time and death.

Conversely, cunnilingus is accorded a revered place in Taoism. This is because the practice was believed to achieve longevity, and the loss of semen, vaginal, and other bodily liquids is believed to bring about a corresponding loss of vitality. Conversely, by either semen retention or ingesting the fluids from the vagina, both male and female can conserve and increase ch’i, or original vital breath.

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Quality Test 43


‘Little owlet in the glen,

I’m ashamed of you;
You are ungrammatical

In speaking as you do.
You should say, “To whom! to whom!”

Not, “To who! to who!”
Your small friend,

Miss Katy-did,
May be green, ’tis true,
But you never heard her say,

“Katydo!shedo!”‘

– William Hudspeth