Spilling out over the side to anyone who will listen


  Friday, August 16, 2002

Would You Punch a Lion for Ten Dollars?

The New York Times has the story of a trip through the Bronx Zoo with a guy who sounds like a character from a Ben Katchor comic. The highlight is his story of visiting a zoo in Ethiopia:

Part of his safari was a trip to a zoo in Ethiopia. An old man asked if Danny would like the lion to do something for his camera. Well, sure.

"So this old guy gets up and goes into the cage and he hits the lion with his fist, right between his eyes," he says. "The lion looks at him, like, `What are you, stupid?'"

Then the beast roared and chased the man out of the cage. Danny figured he had to tip the guy and pulled the equivalent of $10 from his wallet. Someone else told him to put it away. "You'll spoil him," he said.

But Danny scratched his bald head. "You mean he does this everyday?" he gasped.

That, Danny maintains, is the ultimate zoo story.

8:09:32 AM     What do you think? ()

Haven't These People Ever Heard of Pascal's Wager?

Eric wonders if the Church of Satan is real. It appears that they are (though that silly-ass picture on the entrance page to their Web site doesn't help their credibility). In fact, like any church worthy of the name, they even fight about who gets to call themselves a member.

What strikes me about them is how similar their philosophy ("We Satanists are our own Gods, and we are the explorers of the Left-Hand Path. We do not bow down before the myths and fictions of the desiccated spiritual followers of the Right-Hand Path.") is to that of Ayn Rand's Objectivism ("My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.").

There are differences of course. Objectivism claims to be fundamentally optimistic, while Satanism appears to be fundamentally pessimistic. But they both seem to be guilty of hubris. Reason (the "only absolute" of Objectivism) would suggest that man's insignficance in the vast universe would warrant a bit more humility than either of these philosophies are willing to allow. And they both seem to claim the bulk of their adherents from that group of disgruntled intelligent people who want a dogma to explain why their intelligence isn't worth as much to everyone else as it is to them.

7:41:43 AM     What do you think? ()

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Last update: 11/2/03; 10:25:49 AM.


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