Friday, December 18, 2015

Aaron Bialick: "Changing our language will help keep us safer"

As reported several months ago, Aaron Bialick is now on board the MTA gravy train. Based on this (No "Accident": Why Language Matters in Making Our Streets Safer), I bet his new job is a lot easier and he makes more money.

Bialick is still a Big Thinker:

The words we use can have a powerful influence on the way we view traffic injuries, and calling them "accidents" implies that nothing can be done to stop them. As part of our commitment to Vision Zero — an end to traffic fatalities by 2024 — we're ensuring that our language reflects our core belief that no traffic fatality is inevitable or acceptable.

No, the word "accident" only means that a mishap was unintentional, not that it was "inevitable or acceptable." No matter how many "improvements"---that's the word the MTA uses for whatever it does to our streets---Bialick's employer makes to city streets, accidents, injuries, and fatalities will still happen, even here in Progressive Land.

But let's still pretend that San Francisco---or any big city in the country---can put an end to fatal traffic accidents by repeating the Vision Zero slogan, which is even less plausible than the "20% by 2020" slogan. (See also this.)

More from Bialick:

By making this small change in our everyday vocabulary, we can all help spark a change in the way we talk and think about traffic crashes. It's an important piece of the puzzle in building support for Vision Zero: a city where traffic injuries are truly unacceptable. Changing our behavior as well as our language will also help keep us safer. Slow down and keep your eyes up when on the street to make sure everyone gets to their destination safely.

Yes, and rotate your tires and don't forget to floss every day.

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The Myth of Mother Teresa




See The Missionary Position, by Christopher Hitchens.

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Star Wars: The Box Office Awakens



Every true Star Wars fan understands that the reason for its success is because George Lucas is an unoriginal thinker. Like Shakespeare, he creates great stories by taking his ideas, images, plots and themes from elsewhere. All the imagery and iconography of Star Wars have clear origins outside him, from agents of the Empire bearing uniforms taken from the Third Reich to Jedis brandishing laser Samurai swords. The plots and scenes owe much to Japanese cinema and John Ford’s Westerns; the opening crawl introducing the very first 1977 film is a nod to Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940); and the movie’s final scene, with X-Wings gunning down the trench in the Death Star, was lifted from The Dam Busters (1955). Lucas himself is quite open about all this.

The concept of ‘The Force’ and the struggle against dark forces owes much to Christianity, but the idea of ‘inner struggle’ and ‘overcoming oneself’ belongs to that self-declared anti-Christ, Friedrich Nietzsche. As do many of the film’s religious themes. As the Guardian journalist and correspondent for Outlookmagazine, Saptarshi Ray, tells me: ‘As a boy reading some of the kiddie guides to Hindu mythology, I could see links to Star Wars. Many of the characters could easily be seen as a deity of the sky (Indra as Lando), of the Earth (Brahma as Sandmen), good fortune (Ganesh as Han Solo), learning (Saraswati as Yoda), destruction (Shiva as the Emperor), and so on. But you could just as easily compare them to Greek, Roman or Pagan gods.’

Most famously, Stars Wars: A New Hope is said to have employed the monomyth, as outlined by the Jungian anthropologist Joseph Cambell in his 1949 book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Here, Campbell sought to unearth humanity’s grand narrative, one that transcends time, space and culture...

A more critical perspective

George Lucas is "like Shakespeare"?

See also in Vice: Debate is not a form of abuse.

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