"Totally coup, yo."

Bunting


African-American Jim

Jan

06

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Twain classic whitewashed by PC thug

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One of the literary controversies that’s always left me the most befuddled is the reaction to Mark Twain’s portrayal of racism in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Critics of Twain’s portrayal of racist characters as… well, racist, have for a long time been trying to either censor or water down some of the language used. And now it looks like they have to some extent succeeded. From Reuters:

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5 Psychological Effects Which Cause People to Believe in Nonsense

Dec

16

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All of us humans are the result of an unconscious biological process called evolution. Based on the conditions at the time, lots of different pressures selected for certain traits. And after those conditions changed – for example most of us don’t need to prioritize escaping from predators on the savannah anymore – all of the selected-for traits remained. We can’t just say, “Hey! Now that we have houses and locked doors and stuff, I don’t need to wake up in the middle of the night whenever there’s a loud noise because chances are very good that it isn’t a fucking tiger here to eat me and dismember my children!”

Nowadays, lots of these psychological traits have become a target for charlatans and frauds out to scheme you out of your time and money. Here are a few of them to bear in mind the next time one of them approaches you.

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Pro-Wikileaks = Pro-death?

Dec

11

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BY JOSH BUNTING

I’m definitely pro-WikiLeaks, as anyone who’s read what I’ve written on the subject would definitely know. But like any other issue, it’s not entirely black and white. And since I already know I’m biased in one direction, I’m definitely at risk for ignoring information which doesn’t fit with said bias. So in order to try to correct that, here are some recent reports which might make one think twice before unconditionally supporting WL:

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Everyone Must Die at Lily Dale

Aug

29

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Medium burned by poorly-Photoshopped ghost of James Randi

BY JOSH BUNTING


In the mid-19th century, three sisters from a sleepy upstate NY community managed to convince the world that they could communicate with the dead. Late in their lives, two of the Fox sisters demonstrated how they pulled off this fraud (one of them simply cracked the knuckle in her big toe). Unfortunately, their confession wasn’t enough to change the minds of true “spirit world” believers, and the legend continues to the present. So does the tradition of bilking the gullible.

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The 5 Worst Quacks Around Today

Aug

17

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quacks

I’m going to have to limit this list to people who are currently practicing some form of quackery, because if I tried to make a historical list I’d feel compelled to handicap for that person’s period in history. So Isaac Newton, who was literally one of the smartest people ever, believed in alchemy. The great 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler believed in astrology. Lots of the ancient Greek philosophers believed in demons. Demons that controlled their thoughts. Seriously. But you’ve really got to cut them some slack because of how primitive human understanding was in their times. If you’re living in a technologically advanced society today, as the five below are, you really have no excuse for that kind of ignorance. So to make it a level playing field, here are what I think are the worst purveyors of antiscientific pseudomedicine around today.

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The 5 Best Cases of Religious Schadenfreude

Aug

12

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Schadenfreude isn’t even the best word to describe what you feel when you hear about cases like these. It’s a very specific kind of schadenfreude: one where you know that the subject’s irrational beliefs somehow shaped their own downfall, so that their own life becomes a case study against the very worldview they had adopted. We’re all happy that Hitler killed himself in the end, but how much sweeter would it have been if rumors of him being part Jewish had sent him to his own gas chambers? Clearly, that would have been awesome. So let’s look at some cases like that.

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"Bob" is Dead

Jul

06

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X-DAY-SUCKED

Church of the Subgenius X Day disappoints the faithless

BY JOSH BUNTING


The naked old man on the dirt road in the middle of the Brushwood Folklore Center didn’t seem like he was going from one place to another. He and his shriveled up dick were just out there, on display for anyone driving around or whose eyes happened to wander around the huge open field, where he was one of a very few people walking around. So we turned away from him and started to explore the layout of the festivities before setting up some kind of base camp.

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Government bailouts of Christianity

Jun

01

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BY JOSH BUNTING

That’s what I think we ought to start calling these state/church separation issues. A phrase like “violation of the Establishment Clause” might interest nerds who are into constitutional law and secularism, but it’s the kind of phrase that causes everyone else’s eyes to just gloss over when spoken.

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Book review: Pygmy

Dec

08

by

BY JOSH BUNTINGpygmy-chuck-palahniuk-hardcover-cover-art

OK, first of all, this book is much better than his previous one, so those who were disappointed by Snuff and thought Palahniuk was in decline can probably write that off as an anomaly.

But Pygmy is written in a very different, Engrish-y style. And it’s relentless. It almost never stops. The only escape from the narrator’s voice is through other characters when they speak. And unlike other books with a lot of slang (A Clockwork Orange, Irvine Welsh), it’s not something you can just put aside and hope it all starts to make more sense as you go. You really have to understand what the narrator means to say by syncing yourself up with his way of thinking or else the plot will escape you completely.

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