Monthly Archives: September 2009

In praise of young girls, in defense of Roman Polanski

Child rapist Roman Polanski has been apprehended in Switzerland. Read all about it.

Outrage is palpable – on both sides. Yes, there are two sides. In addition to the “hang the pedophile” side, there’s the – if I might repurpose Wilde here – unspeakable in defense of the unconscionable crowd. Hey, lighten up folks. It’s not like the guy was a priest or anything.

Anyway, those in the hang-the-pedophile camp are offering up as aggravating evidence some wild shit Polanski said back in 1979.

“If I had killed somebody, it wouldn’t have had so much appeal to the press, you see? But… fucking, you see, and the young girls. Judges want to fuck young girls. Juries want to fuck young girls. Everyone wants to fuck young girls!”

Appalling. Just disgusting, isn’t it? Read more

Did President Bush believe that Harry Potter was real? It sure sounds that way.

Not that this should come as any surprise, but we now have confirmation that the Bush administration refused to award Harry Potter author JK Rowling the Presidential Medal of Freedom because the books “encouraged witchcraft.”

For a second, let’s set aside any arguments over whether or not Rowling’s work merits such a lofty honor and do something that we simply don’t do enough these days. Let’s dig beneath the surface silliness and examine the deeper implications of what this revelation really means.

Put simply, would you be worried about “encouraging” something you didn’t think was possible? It’s one thing to want to discourage, say, meth use or binge drinking or texting while driving or unprotected sex. Those things are real and they have real, observable consequences. Read more

Please join with Scholars & Rogues as we take the anti-socialism pledge

We’re not sure who wrote this, but we sure do respect their courage in standing up to the Red Menace. Please print out the following, sign it, and return it to us as soon as possible:

I, ________________________, do solemnly swear to uphold the principles of a socialism-free society and heretofore pledge my word that I shall strictly adhere to the following:

I will complain about the destruction of 1st Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 1st Amendment Rights.

I will complain about the destruction of my 2nd Amendment Rights in this country, while I am duly being allowed to exercise my 2nd Amendment rights by legally but brazenly brandishing unconcealed firearms in public. Read more

Organizations, fear and leadership

My wife, who’s working on her MBA, is currently wading through a class that focuses on leadership. The other night she observed that “there sure are a lot of people out there developing theories on leadership, aren’t there?”

Well, yes, and for good reason. Most of those people are working to provide hooks for consulting practices, which can be pretty marketable. Why? Every company needs strong leaders. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that very few companies, if any, have as much in the way of leadership skills as they would like. Even if they have strong leadership at the top, you need leadership at all levels of the organization in order to be truly effective, and every business I’ve ever encountered had at least a little room for improvement. Read more

Fear is the organization killer

Once upon a time the business world was dominated by hierarchical organizations that derived both their structures and mechanistic management philosophies from military thinking that traces its lineage through Frederic the Great all the way back, literally, to the Roman legions. And by “once upon a time,” of course, I mean “at this very minute.”

The truth is that way too many American companies today act as though their employees are some combination of robot and peasant foot soldier. (Hopefully we’re not talking about the company you work for, but I imagine we’ve all been there at some point – I know I have and so have most of the people I know.) Read more

Reality is making us sick, and fantasy can’t cure us

You’re honey child to a swarm of bees
Gonna blow right through you like a breeze
Give me one last dance
Well slide down the surface of things

You’re the real thing
Yeah the real thing
You’re the real thing
Even better than the real thing

– U2

Fantasy stories, myths, legends, tall tales, fairy tales, horror, all these have been with us for a very long time. Science fiction, as well, has been with us since Mary Shelley found herself in a bet with Lord Byron about the possibility of writing a new kind of horror, one not grounded in the gothic.* So the presence in our popular culture of stories based in unreality of one form or another is certainly nothing new.

It seems to me that there’s been a lot more of it lately, though. Read more