Jesus Camp and other stuff

Anyone who has not looked at today’s Boggart Blog yet should check out my article on last night’s Channel 4 documentary Jesus Camp
and then read this unrelated but complimentary story from Amanda Marcotte at Pandangon about a teacher in the USA who was sacked for showing his class a simple conjuring trick. Christian parents accused him of wizerdry. The hypocrisy makes you puke.

Teacher sacked in USA after showing class a simple conjuring trick.

We Lost This Thing In February it looks as if Hillary Clinton has lost the race for the democratic Party Presidential candidacy. But has she a dirty trick or two up her sleeve. Knowing the Clinton’s reputation for political witchcraft I’m not ruling it out.

Deliberative Democracy and the scientific method go together like chocolate and vanilla. Pandangon again, this time on the way America’s liberals have let the Rabid Right define the political agenda.

Preacher’s Pride before fall A new link for Little Nicky, to Scotland’s leading (so they claim) quality paper. Well they all help the hits keep rolling in.

Education in the House of Cards

One of the flagship catchphrases that took the Blair / Brown New Labour project to power was “education, education, education.”
What they delivered was not better nor even more education but a scam, a deception based on league tables which were presented as showing the best schools. Gullible lefties and ambition driven former Thatcherites are easily deceived of course and were ready to swallow the idea that coaching children to pass increased numbers of tests while reducing quality so average grades rose was actually improving education standards when in fact New Labour were busy abolishing real education and replacing it with training.
There was another aspect to the scam of course, a beneficial side effect of the League Tables. The fact that the best schools seemed to concentrate in prosperous middle class areas where most parents could afford books, computers and other learning aids upped property prices in those areas thus helping inflate the housing bubble that was to underwrite Brown’s debt driven economic miracle.
State schools that did well in the league tables appeared to offer as good an education as private schools. This gave middle class parents an incentive to move house rather than fork out thousands to get their kids a better start than the local chav academy could offer.
Thus property prices in the best suburbs were pushed up and they dragged up prices across the whole range of housing.
So the middle class parents who moved now had a decent education for their kids plus a nice property investment. And we all know property values always go up don’t we folks.
Now of course the school league tables stand discredited as employers complain of newly hired University media studies grads. who can barely write their own name while we have to import plumbers, brickies and electricians from Poland and The Czech republic. At the same time house prices are tumbling due to twin dearths: of cheap credit and of fools willing to sell themselves into slavery for the privilege of paying off a mortgage for the rest of their lives.
And the New Labour project is if not yet dead then certainly in extremis.
When a substantial edifice of brick or stone is abandoned it decays gradually, sometimes elegantly.
But when a House of Cards such as the House that Blair built collapses, it is gone without trace in an instant.

Eleven years after the new dawn, dusk has arrived
A bad day for Labour but how bad. Some think they will bounce back, others think the curtain is coming down on the New Labour project.

News From The Profit Centres
Is the internet killing journalism? Maybe so but not for the reasons this article suggests.

The voice of the people is develish odd
Aristotle may have appeared to argue in supports of “the wisdom of crowds” but the old bubble had never seen the internet.

Boris Town
There is nothing worse than a bunch of Tories with their tails in the air. Well Bojo may be the dog’s bollocks today but give him three months…

Market Forces So the stock markets enjoyed a boost? Already the finance indistry pundits are talking of a rally. How shallow can they get?

Secret Cult of Mormon Sci – fi Fans Amanda Marcotte at Pandangon dismisses fears that the sci fi series Battlestar Galactica is Mormon propaganda.
What next? Will some nut be trying to tell us Blake’s Seven is an attempt to convert us all to Seventh Day Adventism?

Give a working class child a chance – kill an academic.

For many years now Little Nicky has been saying that universities have become little more than safe houses for the terminally unemployable.
The latest proof of this comes in a proposal by a team of education academics on dealing with behaviour problems in the classroom. Note, not a team of teachers who have spent years in the classroom trenches, but “educationalists”, who have spent their working lives in University libraries poring over the latest theories about how to educate children, without ever having to look at a child who has not first been sedated and soaked in sterilising fluid.
Apparently the way to deal with disruptive behaviour is to ignore it. The little darlings are just attention seeking and to tell them of or put them in detention is gratifying their desire and thus rewarding their bad behaviour. As well as ignoring bad behaviour teachers should reward good behaviour.
Such fuckwittery is never going to address real problems only exacerbate them.
Ignore the unruly kids and give the well behaved ones a chocolate bar and all that will happen is the Little Bastards will wait ‘til break time and then beat the crap out of the Little Angels and steal their chocolate.
For sheer stupidity it rivals the climate change policy of certain American preachers, keep driving the SUV, turn up the air conditioning, pray and shoot anyone who does not accept Jesus as their saviour, along with faggots, druggies, people who like dancing and communists and piff, paff, poof, problem solved.
Only academics (and psychologists) could have so little understanding of how the mind of a child or adolescent works. Such people were obviously the victims of pushy or politically correct parents and thus were never allowed to be children themselves.
When bad behaviour is described as “attention seeking” it implies the child is seeking the attention of a parent or teacher. WRONG!
Disruptive behaviour is just showboating. The reward ought is laughter and the respec’ of fellow pupils.
Peer group approval has far more value in the school environment that housepoints (which are likely to get the recipient bullied) or sweets and chocolate which can easily be shoplifted anyway, and shoplifting is a good way of getting respec’
Teachers in today’s schools have a hard enough job without pokenose academics trying to make it harder.

Today Little Nicky commented on:
Its me or the Thatcherite

One Fundamental difference between Clinton and Obama

What on Earth are human Rights

Oh Brave New World…

Since I started to write about the boy-scientists (a phrase I will explain properly soon) in connection with the frequent reports and studies that are thrown at us every day, the misinformation and disinformation that comes out of certain branches of the scientific community and their unshakeable belief that us ordinary punters “cannot understand because we are not scientists,” it has occurred to me several times as I wrote of plans to put anti–depressants in water, to withhold medical treatment from those who self harm by having a cheese sandwich and a beer and to fiddle about with the genome to produce a perfect race, that I ought to do an article on Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s 1930s novel of a technological utopia.
In common with Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, forever imprinted on the minds of my generation because of the cover image of a military boot grinding on a human face, Brave New World was a novel that changed the way we viewed the world we lived in. In many ways it inspired aspects of the social revolution of the 1960s as people shrugged off the social controls that had imposed such restrictive conventions on western society.
Now of course the bright young things of the sixties are just boring old farts and people are tricked into conformity by promises of ever improving material benefits if they will only sustain constant economic growth. Consumerism has replaced patriotism in binding us into slavery.

Unfortunately I procrastinated too long. No less a literary luminary than Margaret Atwood has beaten me to the punch and written an excellent article about Huxley’s Brave New World with its compulsory drug doses, genetic engineering to produce social classes from A to E (Epsilon semi-moron aka chav) so reminiscent of toady’s ABC1 social classifications that have replaced the old aristocracy, upper and lower middle class and the much les stratified working classes. How like the modern world Atwood makes it all sound with a level of sexual liberation that deems it bad manners to refuse to have sex with anybody who offers, it’s genetically engineered “pneumatic” women, psychological manipulation, constant pressure to consume and deep suspicion of any sign of individualism.
The portrayal of the dystopic utopia is accurate though. We do seem to be blundering towards a version of that society. Messing about with nature is never a good idea.
You don’t have to take my word for it of course. Read Margaret Atwood’s article here.
Or better still, read Huxley’s novel of benign totalitarianism, Brave New World for yourself.
Even more chilling, Nineteen Eighty Four deals with the darker side of tyranny. With its Thought Police, Big Brother, Ministry of Love (where people who rebel againts the totalitarian regime are “re-educated” by the Though Police until they learn to love Big Brother again, its permanent war against a vague and nebulous enemy and the sinister Room 101 in the Ministry of Love, the novel presents an image of where we might be led if we reject the doubtful blessings of Brave New World.

“Oh brave new world that has such people in it” is a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Often interpreted as a play in which Shakespeare abandom his gift for writing as he senses his talents will wane, it has also been interpreted as a metaphor for the supersession of the old, easy going, humanisticic society of rural England by the philosophies and values of the protestant reformation.Either interpretation could be correct and probably both are because Shakespeare was nothing if not multi-layered

Because some people feel recent blogs have painted a very negative picture of the sciences, I have promised to set the record straight by writing a post showing that I am quite a fan actually (as you would expect from someone whose career was in computers) It is the arseholes who approach science like a zealot approaches religion that get up my nose.