Sunday, November 19, 2006

And now, the news for the dumb

“Not eating makes you die – shock” reports the Telegraph. Anorexic Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston, who lived on an exclusive diet of apples and tomatoes, has died from kidney failure aged 21.

She is the second anorexic model to die this year. Uruguayan Luisel Ramos, 22, suffered a heart attack in August after living on lettuce leaves and Diet Coke for three months.

Something of a pattern emerging here, maybe?


Simple cause and effect seems to be challenging for South Americans generally. Dim-bulb Brazilian Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, made headlines recently with the claim that her cat, Mimi, had given birth to the miscegenous offspring of the neighbour’s dog, which is a first even for a country as lax in matters sexual as Brazil.

No word yet as to Ms de Souza’s stance on tomato-only diets.

Are these women representative of all South Americans in their feeble grasp on the facts of life? If so, it’s no wonder that they keep electing scumbags like Chavez and Ortega…


Is it a puppy? Is it a kitten? No, it’s a puppy. Duh.

28 comments:

rodw said...

It must take enormous willpower to only eat tomatoes in a country that invented “meat on a sword” fine dining.

rodw said...

Also, perhaps Al Gore should seek the assistance of Ms de Souza is his search for the elusive “”. I’m serial!.

rodw said...

And again… perhaps Al Gore should seek the assistance of Ms de Souza is his search for the elusive . I’m serial.

rodw said...

Sorry Ivan, the post works in preview but doesn’t when published. Perhaps designed specifically to cause maximum embarrassment. The hotspot word linking to Youtube was supposed to be ‘Manbearpig’. Nevermind :(

Thomas Pauli said...

Perhaps not so strange! Imagine, in German language the anteater is dubbed "Ameisenbär" (ant bear) - if that doesn't imply a severe case of miscegenation. On the other hand, there aren't any cases of tomato-diet death cases reported so far from Germany. It is largely preferred to expect death from other people's CO2.

JonnyB said...

Tomatos. Bad for you, you see. Avoid.

R. Sherman said...

Yes, well. But I'm just fine on my coffee and cigarette regimen, thank you.

Cheers.

Desargues said...

I'm also anorexic like Randall -- cup o' java and my Marlboros get me through the day, and they're Marlboros Lights; I'm concerned about my waistline, you see. Tomatoes are for killers. Vegetable killers, that is. People who like a holocaust on a plate. Man was not meant to eat his fellow animals and plants, in complete disregard for their feelings and capacity to experience pain. That is why corporations like Starbucks and RJ Reynolds have generously come to our assistance with dark brown liquids and igneous short sticks to help us survive, while staying appropriately slim.

As to the people in your post, I can see now how people like Evo Morales get elected. But, in all fairness, I should mention some of my own students at what is one of the top 15 schools in the States. As Hairy Hutton once put it, they're almost too stupid to speak. Needless to say, their feeble attempts at writing are an embarrassment for humanity as a whole. And they vote, too -- when they're not too stoned, that is, or too busy date-raping sorority girls.

Desargues said...

And, if the figures in this report are to be believed, it would appear that a not inconsiderable number of Britons could use a couple extra neurons, too. 150 million quid a year must come from about 5,000 Brits who really shouldn't be entrusted with the use of a wallet, much less allowed to cast a vote. Perhaps that explains, in part, the continued hold on power of the Labour Party?

Cantemir said...

Des,

It always pisses me off when Americans don't know Faulkner, Melville, or Whitman. I mean, I hate those guys, but at least I've read them. Is it too much to ask the damned Yanks to read their own damned literature? As for Novalis or Knut Hamson or whatever, forget it, you might as well ask whether they can read Linear A or Etruscan.

Desargues said...

Cantemir, I challenge you to round up ten Krauts and ask them who was Friedrich von Hardenberg. If more than one matches the name up with Novalis, I'll buy you a 12-pack of Boddington's. Or a case of Rosso di Toscana -- your pick.

When I was young and naive, in college, I went to a talk by a Brazilian philosopher (yeah, it seems they have things like that in Brazil too, not just soccer stars and shemales). Olavo de Carvalho was his name, and the talk was called 'The Globalization of Ignorance.' Looks like the guy was on to something, after all.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Hi Rodw - no worries, I can't figure out how to link to YouTube either.

I'm not overly concerned about the idea of manbearpigs. For a start, if one turned up in Brazil, it'd get humped to death by the locals before it could do any significant damage...

Jonnyb - sage advice re tomatoes, the Devil's fruit. You could've made the same point about Diet Coke, but if the disgusting malted-battery-acid taste doesn't put people off, mere words are futile, I fear.

And Randall, Des - the correct shorthand for "black coffee and a cigarette" is "Mexican breakfast". I'm a fan myself.

Cantemir said...

Des,

I don't mind the cultural ignorance of rank-and-file people. Most people have neither the aptitude nor the inclination to acquire a deep culture, and that's just fine. I'm bad at lots of things, too.

What I mind is the ignorance of self-appointed, or shall I say instead self-anointed 'intellectuals.' French elites, whatever their problems (many!), are not as yet as drearily dumb as their putative American counterparts. Narrow, bigoted, and trendy - perhaps, but not quite actively anti-intellectual yet.

I counter-challenge you to round up ten German professors of German literature and to test them on any exam on the topic you feel able to design. Then test ten American professors of anything - your choice - on American literature. If the Krauts don't wind, I'll buy you a case of Rkatseteli (your choice of producer.)

As for Diet Coke, Uncle Vanya, I recall someone commenting once that caffeine-free Diet Coke was like the ghost of a beverage, all connotations with no denotations, so to speak.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Brazilian women are terrified of getting saggy bottoms. A woman once died during an operation to get her bottom reduced. This woman was mentally ill, though. Not even fruitarians eat only apples and tomatoes. Gorillas are not fruitarians, by the way.

Ivan the Terrible said...

Yes, GB, but would models count as fruit, or even veg? Seems the best they can hope for is to be used as the twigs that chimps poke into termite mounds. At least they get a licking out of it...

Cantemir said...

Ivan,

I believe that it is the Brazilian shemales who count as fruits.

Ivan the Terrible said...

What, Canty? Despite their embarrassing superfluity of nuts?

Desargues said...

Anti-intellectualism in America has two faces. One is ugly and public; I suspect it must in part originate with those narrow-minded, provincial, smug Calvinists that used to exasperate men like Louis Agassiz when he relocated to the States, and to drive people like Hemingway and Gertrude Stein (themselves rather second-rate intellects) away to Paris. This visible anti-intellectualism is deeply suspicious of eggheads and people who wear bow ties (the latter is not, in fact, the exclusive appendage of scholars and thinkers; fourth-rate minds like Tucker Carlson and certain confirmed bachelors of late middle-age wear them, too). It is the suspicion of the radical Protestant who thinks knowledge, and perhaps even good deeds, are not really necessary for salvation --therefore, why bother to accumulate either? And it is also shared by the redneck who thinks 'common sense' (whereby he means a lukewarm version of his stifling, stuffy Weltanschauung) is the measure of all things).

The other, more subtle version of aversion to thinking is to be found, paradoxically, among some of those who used to be trusted with this most arduous task -- college professors. And I'm afraid that for this variant of anti-intellectualism, the Frogs are indeed to blame. Perhaps foreseeing that the Marxian messianic promise would come to nought, some Frenchmen in the late Sixties tried to radicalize Marx even further, in what is now known as post-structuralism. In the oeuvre of the drunken German Jew, beneath ideas there is an infrastructure of economic means of production and interests; according to Foucault, words only serve to mask some hopelessly vague 'power mechanisms'; according to Derrida, underneath words there is... nothing. Words simply refer to each other, and those links of reference are themselves fluid, unstable, and refashionable at will. That was grist to the mill of many a lazy American humanities professor, who breathed a deep sigh of relief upon hearing, from France, that words only refer to themselves and other words, but not to states of affairs in the world. For that view strongly encourages the notion that ideas are, ultimately, unimportant, and what really matters is rhetorical devices and being able to juggle words in a manner that is strongly reminiscent of those graceful, but ultimately ridiculous and pointless dances of the Baroque -- a minuet, perhaps. The ultimate irony (lost on the dimwits who practice it) is that this deep-seated refusal to deal with the challenge of thought and to engage in the search for truth bears the absurd name of 'theory' -- a set of 'deconstructive' tools these profs use to allegedly demolish the oppressive edifice of Western rationality. They're clearly deluding themselves, of course; by now, devoid of any political outlet for their radical rage, 'theory' has inevitably been turned into a tedious form of group masturbation. The results of this touching of their collective self, articles and papers and books, has lost all contact with the real world. Yet, lifeless and isolated, they still manage to exert a noxious influence, by misleading bright, eager undergrads into thinking that iredeemable obscurity is a sign of depth, thus wasting the talents of the next generation.

More's the pity, though, for this country does indeed have true intellectuals. The late John Rawls, Ronald Dworking, Robert Nozick, Jerry Fodor, Daniel Dennett are just a few examples. Too bad they're not generally allowed to write in publications that reach a wider audience. Instead, we have to read and listen to sputtering morons like Chuck Krauthammer, braying fascists like that shemale Coulter, light-headed bimbos like Maureen Dowd, fifth-echelon thinkamators like Tom Friedman, and various, even lesser figures.

Cantemir said...

Des,

May I steal "sputtering morons?"

Thanks for your post. I had a scientific education, and what humanistic component it had was very old-fashioned (Pushkin, /The Federalist,/ Grotius, Moerike.) I imgained that America would be full of people who would go around quoting Patrick Henry's 'if this be tyranny...' just the way my parents and their liberal friends did. Instead, I found it to be full of people ashamed of the names of Jefferson and Washington.

Of course, I have my own suspicions about liberal democracy and the Enlightenment generally, but I hope they are rooted in deeper soil than mere uniformed distaste.

I'm sure that something like this is hard to find, but if you have it, would you be so kind as to link me to an article providing an overview, in layman's terms, of the historical evolution you mentioned?

If this doesn't exist, thanks anyway and I appreciate it.

Cantemir said...

Ivan,

To whom, precisely, is it embarassing?

Ivan the Terrible said...

If previously unsuspected, Canty, they can lead to an awkward pause in the conversation out in the back seat of the Camaro after the nightclub closes...

Desargues said...

Ivan, careful with those jokes. I nearly snorted coffee through my nostrils when I read it; that would have ruined my laptop.

Cantemir, that last post was largely a series of elucubrations -- literally, disjoint thoughts produced at night in the flickering light of a lamp. I don't think there's a single article that summarizes those points (since there's hardly any unity to them). You can read a bit about Agassiz in a nice short story by a very fine writer from Kentucky, Guy Davenport. The piece is titled "The Intelligence of Louis Agassiz." Max Weber's Protestant Ethic is a delightful read even now, a century after it was written. I dabbled a bit in Foucault and Derrida when I was young and easy to fool, in college, back in Europe. For a devastating critique of the two Frogs, have a look at Jurgen Habermas' Philosophical Discourse of Modernity, chapters 9 and 10 (you may well want to read the whole thing, it's the best piece of European philosophy produced after the war). I gave up on that sort of doing humanities some years ago; these days, I'm interested in the history and philosophy of science. Natural science, mostly, with an emphasis on physics and astronomy from Newton to Einstein. Much more rewarding than the bullshit they sell you in literary department. Jesus, those people don't even like literature; if you get one of them drunk enough to be honest, they'll tell you that themselves.

Cantemir said...

Ivan,

I didn't know they had Camaros in Brazil. That should have been your first clue.

Des,

Thank you. To my shame, I have never read Habermas. Davenport writes for Harper's, right? I used to have a subscription, before it went nuts.

Desargues said...

There's an inordinate mention of nuts in this section. I know they're supposed to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids and what not, but they often carry uneasy implications with them -- a particularly risque venture when it occurs in the same context as 'meat on a sword' and 'manbearpig.'

Cantemir said...

For further discussion of this phenomenon, Des, see this fine site.

Aunty Marianne said...

Clearly my recent focused research on nuts has blinded me to wider works.

Oh the joyous sea of thought that awaits me!

Desargues said...

There seems to be something wrong with the link, Cantemir.

And anyway, is the site you link to work-safe? I'm at work in the library; don't want any of my students passing by and catching me staring at Brazilian nuts or something.

Cantemir said...

Des,

I'd suggest reading in it secret by candle-light. Sorry about the link; I don't know how I managed to confound blogger so.