Yet another weird SF fan


I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan
 

Friday, March 16, 2007

Stephen Cox vs. Monty Python

In the Word Watch column in the latest issue of Liberty (the column doesn't seem to be online), Stephen Cox complains about the habit of calling advocates for a solution to Problem X, advocates for Problem X:

This kind of creepiness has a political history, one that's more disconcerting than the ignorant statement just quoted. In days of old (about 20 years ago), to speak in favor of some cause was to be an advocate of that cause. Hired spokesmen for one side or the other were advocates for that side: “In the case of Brackman v. Standard Oil, Helen Hastings appeared as an advocate for Standard Oil.” Working as an “advocate for” was a professional job.
On the contrary, I recall Monty Python (somewhat more than 20 years ago) once had an appeal for sanity:
You know, there are many people in the country who, through no fault of their own, are sane. Some of them were born sane. Some of them became sane later in their lives. It is up to people like you and me who are out of our tiny little minds to try and help these people overcome their sanity. You can start in small ways with ping-pong ball eyes and a funny voice and then you can paint half of your body red and the other half green and then you can jump up and down in a bowl of treacle going ‘squawk, squawk, squawk...’ And then you can go ‘Neurhhh! Neurhhh!’ And then you can roll around on the floor going ‘pting pting pting’...

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