Saturday, December 15, 2007

Guzzle It

Man Drinks Liter Bottle of Vodka in Airport Line to
Defy Airport Security Rules -- Almost Dies of Alcohol Poisoning.

The word MAN is redundant is the above sentence.

Seattle PI

BERLIN -- A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday.

The incident occurred at the Nuremberg airport on Tuesday, where the 64-year-old man was switching planes on his way home to Dresden from a holiday in Egypt.

New airport rules prohibit passengers from carrying larger quantities of liquid onto planes, and he was told at a security check he would have to either throw out the bottle of vodka or pay a fee to have his carry-on bag checked as cargo.

Instead, he chugged the bottle down - and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function, police said.
Thursday in I Must Be Right Even When I Know I'm Wrong, I said
Group News Blog

People need to be right.

People need to be right so badly we (me too) will stick with being right even when we know we're wrong.

People need to be right no matter what it costs them. And it costs them. Their reputation, love, money, their health. People die in order to be right.
Bush is unengaged.

By every account I've heard, he believe history will vindicate him.
US News and World Report

In a recent meeting at the White House, Bush told visitors how Lincoln (whose portrait he has installed in the Oval Office) persevered in the Civil War despite many defeats on the battlefield, tens of thousands of casualties, and doubts among Northern voters that the conflict could ever be won. As the campaign of 1864 approached, Bush related, Lincoln admitted privately that he didn't think he would be re-elected, but pursued his policies anyway. Bush also described how Lincoln pressed on despite his grief when his beloved 11-year-old son Willie died in February 1862. The visitors came away with the conviction that Bush sees himself in Lincoln's mold more deeply than ever.

To Bush's critics, the incident is unsettling. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, noting that the president has also compared himself to Harry Truman, told U.S. News: "This is delusional-comparing the equivalent of Warren Harding to two of our greatest presidents!" Adds presidential historian Robert Dallek, author of Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power: "He may come across to some people as a man of principle, but a great majority see him as stubborn and unyielding. ... And everything he touches turns to dust."

This is all nonsense, according to senior White House officials. They say that Bush isn't delusional at all and that history will vindicate him, just as it vindicated Lincoln and Truman. "He believes the correctness of his policies-including the war in Iraq-may not be recognized for 10, 15 years," says a Bush adviser. Adds another confidant: "If something reaches his level, it tends to be bad news, but he keeps it all in perspective, and there's no equivocation."


Hmmmm. Google is our friend.

Equivocation, also known as amphibology, is classified as both a formal and informal fallacy. It is the misleading use of a word with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).

Equivocation is the use in a syllogism (a logical chain of reasoning) of a term several times, but giving the term a different meaning each time. For example:
A feather is light.
What is light cannot be dark.
Therefore, a feather cannot be dark.
In this use of equivocation, the word "light" is first used as the opposite of "heavy", but then used as a synonym of "bright" (the fallacy usually becomes obvious as soon as one tries to translate this argument into another language). Because the "middle term" of this syllogism is NOT one term, but two separate ones masquerading as one (all feathers are indeed "not heavy", but is NOT true that all feathers are "not bright"), equivocation is actually a kind of the fallacy of four terms.

The fallacy of equivocation is often used with words that have a strong emotional content and many meanings. These meanings often coincide within proper context, but the fallacious arguer does a semantic shift, slowly changing the context as they go in such a way to achieve equivocation by treating distinct meanings of the word as equivalent.

In English language, one equivocation is with the word "man", which can mean both "member of species Homo sapiens" and "male member of species Homo sapiens". A well-known equivocation is
"Do women need to worry about man-eating sharks?"
where "man-eating" is taken as "devouring only male human beings".
In literature we find:

An ambiguous grammatical structure in a sentence.

Some examples:
Teenagers shouldn't be allowed to drive. It's getting too dangerous on the streets.

This could be taken to mean the teenagers will be in danger, or that they will cause the danger.

I once shot an elephant in my pajamas.

A famous quotation by Groucho Marx from the comedic film Animal Crackers, it is unclear if the speaker shot the elephant while wearing pajamas or if the elephant was in the speaker's pajamas.

  • Dog for sale. Will eat anything. Especially fond of children.
  • Used cars for sale: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
  • At our drugstore, we dispense with accuracy!
  • Eat our curry, you won't get better!
  • (Professor to student, on receiving a fifty-page term paper): "I shall waste no time reading it." (Often attributed to Disraeli)
  • No food is better than our food.
Apart from its use as a technical term in logic, "equivocation" can also mean the use of language that is ambiguous, ie equally susceptible of being understood in two different ways. There is usually a strong connotation that the ambiguity is being used with intention to deceive.

This type of equivocation was famously mocked in the porter's speech in Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which the porter directly alludes to the practice of deceiving under oath by means of equivocation.

"Faith, here's an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God's sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven."
(Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3)

See, for example Robert Southwell and Henry Garnet, author of A Treatise of Equivocation (published secretly c. 1595) — to whom, it is supposed, Shakespeare was specifically referring. Shakespeare made the reference to priests because the religious use of equivocation was well-known in those periods of early modern England (eg under James VI/I) when it was a capital offense for a Roman Catholic priest to enter England.

A Jesuit priest would equivocate in order to protect himself from the secular authorities without (in his eyes) committing the sin of lying. For example, he could use the ambiguity of the word "a" (meaning "any" OR "one") to say "I swear I am not a priest", because he could have a particular priest in mind who he was not. That is, in his mind, he was saying "I swear I am not one priest" (eg "I am not Father Brown who is safely in Brussels right now".) This was theorized by casuists as the doctrine of mental reservation.

Bush is described by his aides and confidants: "He keeps it all in perspective, and there's no equivocation."

Um, no.

His aides and confidants clearly mean that Bush doesn't change his mind, that Bush takes a position and holds it, no matter what. He is determined to be right, no matter the cost, certain that history will vindicate him regardless of the evidence.

He may well -- the evidence would suggest -- go to his grave believing this. To do otherwise would invalidate his entire life.

But his aides are wrong. Bush is indeed, the great equivocator. His aides -- just as Bush Press Secretary Dana Perino doesn't know the difference between the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis -- don't know (or don't understand) the difference between equivocation and being determined.

One is using words to deceive. The other is taking a position and holding it.

Bush constantly uses words to deceive. Karl Rove taught him. From why the Supreme Court should order Florida to stop counting the votes, to why the United States should go to war with Iraq, from why he's not talking about Karl Rove's act of treason, to why black and poor people should have I.D.'s to vote... George W. Bush does nothing but equivocate.

He doesn't change his position. But his reasons -- they change like the AMPTP trying to explain to the writers there's no money in the internet so they shouldn't get two and a half cents on the buck, while at the same time, telling network and studio stockholders they're going to make over a billion bucks on this internet thingy.

Why am I not surprised Aides to the President not only don't understand basic vocabulary, they have the usage 100% back-ass-wards?

People want to be right at any cost, even if it kills them -- or others.

Doesn't matter if you're a 64 year-old man sucking down vodka in the airport and almost killing yourself suddenly, or a 61 year-old man ordering surges into Iraq after firing every General who told you it wouldn't work, and killing a lot of troops and Iraqis, suddenly.

It's all about being right at any cost.

Guzzle it baby. Guzzle that self-righteous 'I know someday somewhere for something, they'll put up a statue in my honor' feeling.

Suck on it till you choke.