Monday, February 25, 2013

Waking up to paternalistic jackassery

If you're like me, one of the first things you do when you wake up in the morning and get your caffeinated beverage of choice, is roll on over to your computer and log on to find out what you've missed in the last eight hours. The other day I encountered a post called 13 Healthy Ways to Start Your Day. Among the 13 suggestions?

Set the Inner Conversation
[B]egin your day thinking on a positive and productive note. Skip the computer, TV, radio, and even the newspaper. Do you really need to start the day with news of 3,000 dead in an earthquake? There’s plenty of hours left to inform yourself.
Not a bad idea, I thought. So today instead of immediately logging on, I grabbed my caffeinated beverage, took a stroll outside and breathed in a little fresh air. Then I came back to my Twitter feed. What greeted me there?

The first notable tweet was from poker media personality Jess Welman who tweeted a link to this article:
N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg bans 2-liter sodas with pizza delivery: report

Say goodbye to that 2-liter soda with your pizza delivery, pitchers of soft drinks at your kid’s birthday party and some bottle-service mixers at your favorite nightclub, The New York Post reports.

The mayor’s new rules prohibit restaurants from serving or selling soda in containers larger than 16 ounces.
Awesome. Just awesome. This is some of the most paternalistic bullshit ever.  I don't eat pizza and rarely drink soda. And even suggesting that I have a favourite nightclub is amusing. Oh yeah, and I don't live in New York or have any plans to.  But if you're in any way a principled person, you see how fucking ridiculous this is. I mean you know how the story goes. First they came for the carbonated sugar water drinkers, and I did not speak, for I was not a carbonated sugar water drinker...

But then I scrolled down my feed a bit more, and found something that hit closer to home: SD Senator seeks to ban MMA, calls it 'child porn of sports'

Within the article, a blog post by a state representative is copied:
MMA Cage Fighting is the child porn of sports. The psychological community will tell you that desensitization to violence works exactly like desensitization to porn. You know how porn progresses... a peek at topless isn't enough, it all has to come off, then a pic is not enough... it goes to video then to virtual and then to the devaluation and mistreatment of women, human trafficking and sex crimes against women. Violence works the same way. Boxing wasn't enough so they took the gloves off, then they allowed kicking, kneeing people in the head, then elbows to the face, then they put a cage around it. The point is to knock the other guy unconscious while pay per view crowds cheer it on. Why not nunchucks? In Rome they'd gather in colosseums and bring out prisoners and entertain themselves by making them fight to the death. That wasn't enough so they brought out the helpless and the hated and brought in the hungry lions. Crowds cheered.
No, really: someone competent enough to use a computer and put together grammatically correct sentences actually wrote the above. *HEAD EXPLODE*

I care passionately about MMA, but the New York soda/pizza law won't ever affect me. Pretty much the only thing they have in common is paternalistic, vote-pandering politicians.

So a big "fuck you" goes out to both Mayor Bloomberg and State Representative Hickey. I was having such a good morning before I had to read about you two jackasses being jackasses.

(I guess the walk didn't really help. Oh well, it was worth a try.)


  1. The premise is wrong anyway: there's no evidence that that's what porn does. There's reasonable evidence that increased prevalence of porn leads to decreased sexual assaults though.

    1. yes, both the "topless photos -> human sex trafficking" and "elbows to the face -> feeding humans to lions" things were equal factors in my head explosion. Still trying to clean pieces of skull off my desk.

  2. The problem is your soda reaction. "Not me?" so "ehhh, let is slide"

    Because of that we are all minorities that can then be ignored. They count on that.

  3. Wonderful rant and provocative diatribe on governance and society. However, there are two quite different things. The NYC law is ostensibly designed to improve public health, and reduce indirect costs to taxpayer on health problems causes by obesity, etc. The other proposal is simply another manifestation of the same "morality" police that seeks to outlaw anything that's fun -- gambling, drinking, certain sexual activities, and now certain types of competition and entertainment. I enjoy the rant, but these two issue are not one and the same.

    1. I don't see much of a difference. They're both claiming that banning the thing in question is good for society; soda because it's bad for you and MMA because it leads to gladiatorial death matches.

    2. It's interesting in a way. My job is to slowly change player behaviour by making small changes. If I can do 10% change, I've done a great job. This is a very similar thing, except the starting assumption is that THIS 10% change leads to THAT later change and there're no data to back it up.

      My life would be so much easier if it were the case.

      I think that a lot of these paternalistic "liberal" laws have this in mind but they're stuck on doctrine instead of statistics. I like that their mind is in the right place, but I hate their method.

    3. A 32 oz soft drink or a bulk bottle with a pizza? So, which deserves outlawing? Why penalize some skinny dude that trying to gain weight?

      You, of all people, should understand the government's thinking and unintended consequences. In our context it is the UIGEA that keeps all of us from clicking on a mouse and losing our house. That the problem they defined and the solution they provided.

      Nolan, you need to defend all individual rights -- including those you don't particularly care for. You need to look at statistics and see if the solution even addresses the problem. We saw our hobby trampled and how they distorted facts and you're still blindly drinking NYC's kool-aid -- hopefully the sugar free.

      However, I am glad that TC remains ambulatory. Hopefully, Spartacus won't do him in anytime soon.

    4. P.S. Nolan

      Peanuts are as big a problem as 32 ounce soft drinks. Hell, they even affect fat guys with wasted calories. According to caloriecount. com: bag of peanuts: 170 32oz drink: 265

      You scarfed down 7 bags of peanuts: 1190 calories

      FOR SHAME! Next time have a big gulp and avoid castration threats!



  4. I assume you know that MMA is not legal in NY. Ridiculous!