-There appears to be an inversely proportional correlation with intelligence and smoking. It suddenly hit me that there are very few people at university who smoke, and that there has been a gradual decline in percentage since high school. My thinking is that there has to be some type of link here between those who succeed in life and non-smoking. I have always said that smoking is a character flaw in that it shows a personality weakness, but this new conclusion is all the more interesting. Either this is the case, or smokers are choosing to conglomerate in hidden bunkers for fear of lynching.
-The collapse of another
overpass in Laval two days ago is a humorous situation. Is it just me, or does shit like this only EVER happen in Montreal? There was that overpass that was under construction a few years ago that just collapsed onto the highway, and now this one. No matter what or who is to blame, it just seems to me that you never hear about major overpasses randomly collapsing in other cities. No doubt the complete state of disrepair of most Montreal streets and bridges has absolutely nothing
to do with this incident!
-When you go out in public, you're not at home. This year, the university has ripped out all the nasty old desks on one floor of the library and instead put in some nice new carpeting and couches galore. This is a fantastic idea, as it gives students a more comfortable, relaxed atmosphere in which to study. The problem is that some people think that because there's a couch there, it's like your fucking living room. The worst offenders that I've noted so far are those who kick off their shoes and lay down on the couches, or put their feet up on the table, allowing everyone around to smell their cheesecrust corn nibblet toes. One girl even went as far as completely removing her socks and smearing her feet all over the place as she tried to lay down and get comfortable. Another couple figured that because there were couches there, that this was a social environment. Therefore, they began talking loudly. After about 10 minutes, everyone was yelling at them to shut the fuck up. This is a library... not your dirty living room.
-Academic texts are needlessly pompous. It seems like most academics take pride in writing in the driest, most uninteresting possible style, which makes watching paint dry look like a pleasurable activity. It's not the content that's the problem, but rather the arrogant manner in which it's written. I admire Chomsky for being an intellectual who speaks out about trash like this, admitting that he doesn't understand half of the postmodernist literature because it's written in a manner that tries to exclude everyone but their own little sect. As Chomsky put it (I'm paraphrasing), if intellectual elites were to simplify the language in which they conveyed their ideas, it would make their positions in society irrelevant, which is simply unacceptable! In reading most academic texts, it amazes me how two pages could often be summarized into half a page. In political anthropology, for example, the primary literature is mostly pompous bullshit. Foucault wrote this 15 page text on the structure of discourse that was summarized in a political anthropology reference book in about three paragraphs. There was nothing I got out of the Foucault text that was not understood in those summarized paragraphs.
-Finally, while speaking of Chomsky, there's a comment in his latest book, Failed States, which comments on the judgment of the Nuremberg Tribunal (faithful followers may remember a similar comment he made on his Bill Maher appearance a few years ago). The judgment of the tribunal expands on such precedents as the Geneva Convention, and was adopted by the International Law Commission of the UN over 50 years ago. More specifically, the following part from Article III is interesting to note: "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible Government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law." Chomsky cites the example of the German foreign minister who "was hanged for such crimes as his role in the preemptive attack on Norway" If honesty were still an important principle today, and the United States government did not continuously apply a double-standard to itself, the leaders of the US government would be given the death penalty for their part in violating the Geneva conventions, especially relating to torture of prisoners, extradition, and unlawful detainment of prisoners without just cause. Least of all, for the illegal invasion of Iraq, which defied pretty much every international law in the book.